April 4, 2014

Public Space? Lost & Found

School of Architecture + Planning at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
Jakub Hałun, Takeshita Street in Tokyo, 2010. Image via Wikimedia Commons.

The MIT Program in Art, Culture and Technology (ACT) and the MIT Center for Art, Science and Technology (CAST) present Public Space? Lost & Found, a two-day symposium and accompanying exhibition to celebrate the living legacy of artist and educator Antoni Muntadas and collectively redefine ideas of public space and its multiple functions. Convening scholars, artists, architects, and planners from MIT and beyond, the symposium will engage contemporary critical discourses and practices on public space.

The symposium and exhibition investigate the definitions of public space across disciplines, and the tools, tactics, and consequences of reclaiming—or to use a term coined by Muntadas, creating interventions in—public space through art and architecture. Public Art, that is art in public space, is a concept that has been in discussion and revision throughout the evolution of the terms “art” and “city” themselves. Recent movements—including those in Egypt, Madrid, New York, and around the world in Occupy communities—have exposed the distance between “public” and “space” and reflect citizens’ interests in recovering and re-appropriating the city or town square. The themes of the symposium draw from Muntadas’s career at MIT and his artistic practice, a legacy that directly affects the work and philosophies of many of the invited speakers.

Click here to reserve a seat and learn more about the symposium and exhibition.


Friday, April 18
Opening remarks by Adèle Santos (Dean of the School of Architecture + Planning, MIT)

Panel 1: “Private Public Spaces: Cultural Identity and Context”
Speakers: Ina Blom (Oslo University), Antoni Muntadas (ACT, MIT), Néstor García Canclini (Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana, Mexico City)
Respondents: Doris Sommer (Cultural Agents, Harvard), Ana Maria León (HTC, MIT)
Moderator: Meejin Yoon (Architecture, MIT)

Panel 2: “Reclaiming Public Space/Surveillance and Control”
Speakers: Teddy Cruz (UCSD), Marjetica Potrč (HFBK, Hamburg), Krzysztof Wodiczko (GSD, Harvard).
Respondents: Jane Hutton and Adrian Blackwell (GSD, Harvard)
Moderator: Catherine D’Ignazio (Media Lab, MIT)

Exhibition opening reception


Saturday, April 19
Welcome by Otto Piene (Professor Emeritus, Director Emeritus of CAVS, MIT)

Panel 3: “Alternatives for Contemporary Public Space: Interdisciplinary Praxis”
Speakers: Juan Herreros (GSAPP, Columbia), Dennis Adams (Cooper Union), Angela Vettese (IUAV, Venice)
Respondent: Caroline Jones (HTC, MIT)
Moderator: Ute Meta Bauer (NTU, Singapore)

Panel 4: “Speculations on the Future of Urban Space: Utopia”
Speakers: Gediminas Urbonas (ACT, MIT), Andrés Jaque (Princeton), Mark Wigley (GSAPP, Columbia)
Respondent: Ana Miljacki (Architecture, MIT)
Moderator: Alexander D’Hooghe (CAU, MIT)

Panel 5: “Public Space: Research, Projects, Production”
Speakers: Jennifer Allora (Allora & Calzadilla), Marrikka Trotter (GSD, Harvard), Matthew Mazzotta (ACT, MIT), Coryn Kempster (Harry Gugger Studio)
Respondents:  Beatriz Colomina (Princeton University School of Architecture), Azra Akšamija (ACT, MIT)
Moderator: Antoni Muntadas (ACT, MIT)

Closing remarks by Nader Tehrani (Head of the Department of Architecture, MIT)


This program is made possible by funding provided by the MIT Center for Art, Science and Technology (CAST); the MIT School of Architecture and Planning, Office of the Dean (SA+P); MIT Department of Architecture; the MIT Program in Art, Culture and Technology (ACT); the Council for the Arts at MIT (CAMIT); MIT Comparative Media Studies/Writing (CMS); Center for Civic Media; and the Media Lab.

Click here to learn more about the program and exhibition.


MIT Program in Art, Culture and Technology
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
77 Massachusetts Avenue, E15-212
Cambridge, MA 02139-4307


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