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A musical flowering

Professor Tod Machover of the Program in Media Arts and Sciences, known for his innovations in composing and performing music, has designed an interactive music installation for the annual Marshall Fields Flower Show at the chain's flagship store in downtown Minneapolis. "Music in the Garden," called an "inspired landscape of French post-impressionist art," uses Hyperinstruments and automated pianos that switch sounds from Debussy, Satie and Stravinsky to Machover at the touch of a finger. The project also uses what Machover calls "squeezy flowers that mix nature and electronica, magical indoor wind chimes that move and chime by blowing on a series of giant pinwheels, and a substantial original composition that emerges from the other overlapping experiences--all surrounded by extremely elaborate flowers and plants."

The "South of France" environment was designed by landscape architect Julie Moir Messervy, who studied at MIT while at Wellesley and received masters degrees in both architecture and city planning from MIT in 1978. She taught landscape design at MIT's Graduate School of Architecture for a few years afterwards.

"Music in the Garden" is on view at Marshall Field's (8th Floor Auditorium, 700 On The Mall, Minneapolis), from March 12-26.

Photography talks at the MFA

The MIT Women's League presents two upcoming art talks at Boston's Museum of Fine Arts by Ann Allen, a member of the Council for the Arts at MIT and widow of the late John Allen, former head of the Research Lab for Electronics.

On Thursday, March 31, Allen will discuss two photography exhibitions. One is by Czech photographer Josef Sudek, whose misty, magical images document a private world of great beauty in ordinary things, people and natural effects. The other is by Japanese photographer Hiroshi Sugimoto, whose arresting, minimalist images reflect his fascination with the paradox of photographing time.

On Friday, April 15, Allen's talk is on "Sets, Series and Suites: Contemporary Prints," a show investigating theme and variation in 60 original print series and portfolios by contemporary European and American artists.

The price for each talk is $10 for MFA members, $24 for non-members, $22 for seniors. Reservations will close one week in advance of each event. Both talks are from 1-2 p.m. For more information, call 253-3656 or e-mail

A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on March 9, 2005 (download PDF).

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