MIT has seized the opportunity offered by the inauguration of Susan Hockfield to hold two symposia in which prominent members of the faculty will discuss interdisciplinary research, art and technology.
On Wednesday, May 4, "Art and Technology" will be the topic of discussion. Associate Provost for the Arts Alan Brody will moderate a talk with director Jay Scheib, assistant professor of music and theater arts; artist Krzysztof Wodiczko, professor of architecture and director of the Center for Advanced Visual Studies; and composer Evan Ziporyn, the Kenan Sahin Distinguished Professor of Music.
"There's been a lot of discussion in recent years about the ways in which technology has informed the production of art, as well as the ways in which artists and engineers have experienced the collaborative process," Brody said. The panel, he said, will look at how artists from three very different disciplines--theater, the visual arts and music--have used old and new technologies in "the service of their vision," how those technologies have facilitated the work and how they may have created unforeseen problems.
Each panelist will discuss a topic related to his own field and interests, then participate in a panel discussion moderated by Brody.
Scheib, who will discuss one of his current projects "The Flight out of Naturalism," has written about his interest in the emergence of "reality television" in the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks: "In the time which followed, Reality television ratings skyrocketed. Everywhere, thirst for the Real, the cruelties inherent in our Real lives--hunger for something actual in the face of so much fiction masquerading as fact, was overwhelming. It was in this environment that my own flight into naturalism evolved."
Wodiczko, who is renowned internationally for his large-scale slide and video projections on architectural facades and monuments (including the Bunker Hill Monument in 1998), is working on a projection in Barcelona that will use a prominent city monument as a vehicle for two-way, real-time communication with the public. He will speak on "Art, Technology and Public Space" and will present two short videos.
Ziporyn, a composer and clarinetist whose work draws equally from world and classical music, the avant garde and jazz, has composed numerous works combining Indonesian orchestration (gamelan) with western instruments and electronics. He plans to talk about how traditional "pencil and manuscript paper" composers have or have not adapted to the technical wizardry now available.
The second symposium, to be held Tuesday, May 3, will be on "Interdisciplinary Research at MIT: Making Uncommon Connections."
Both symposia will take place from 4 to 6 p.m. in the Stata Center's Kirsch Auditorium and are free and open to the MIT community.
A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on April 27, 2005 (download PDF).