When the MIT Center for Advanced Visual Studies (CAVS) was founded in 1967, ‘what is art’ was an evolving question. With a roster of 200+ internationally known artist-fellows, CAVS established MIT as a global leader in experiments in art, collaboration between artists and scientists, and emerging technologies. Today, these explorations are still central to the current work of the MIT Program in Art, Culture and Technology (ACT), which recently featured the work of Ryan Kuo SM ’14.
Kuo, an ACT graduate whose work spans video, photography, writing, and digital media, recently completed a fellowship supported by an NEA Art Works Grant, was profiled in Rhizome, and presented The Way I See It (2017), an autonomous game application, in a group exhibit in New York. In February, Kuo will enter the Queens Museum Studio Program in New York City. See his piece, Family Maker, above.
Kuo described his approach to work involving digital technologies:
“I’m responding to the absoluteness of the American frame. It’s the cultural drive for the frame to be correct, whether by design or through belief, that I am pushing against. That skepticism applies equally to the idea that technology must be aligned with science, or that it exists to benefit art. This produces art that is simply fascinated by scientific or technological means. Our stated reasons for valuing all three often don’t make sense, but they can make something else. I am interested in that something.”
ACT, which was created when CAVS merged with MIT’s Visual Arts Program in 2009, will complete a year-long celebration of CAVS’s 50 anniversary this spring. Artist and professor György Kepes, CAVS’s founder, proposed that artists and scientists could balance and enrich each others’ work. Environmental art and art at the civic scale was and continues to be an emphasis.
“We adhere to the idea that art has its place alongside science and technology,” says Laura Knott SM ‘87, in an MIT News article.
A CAVS alumna, Knott co-curated In Our Present Condition, a show featuring work by contemporary alumni on view through April in the Dean’s Office Gallery. “CAVS was the first program of its kind. And while it has since sparked similar programs around the world, MIT’s leadership in the field remains unsurpassed.”
Check the ACT website for upcoming events this spring including exhibits of György Kepes Photographs and a Zooetics symposium, which will explore human and other life co-habitation from multiple perspectives.
And online, you can watch videos of these fall lectures:
- Cristina Ricupero: Don’t Believe A Word I Say, a two-part program on espionage.
- David Reinfurt: A Post-Industrial Postscript discussing The Tetracono, a 1967 artwork.
- Postcommodity: The Repellent Fence and Beyond on a land art installation.
- Judith Barry: A Discussion of Several Research-Based Projects on her installations and performances.