September 3, 2019

ACT Fall 2019 Lecture Series: The Inexplicable Wonder of Precipitous Events

Art, Culture, and Technology Program at MIT

[1] Sarah Oppenheimer, Bild 135, 2017. [2] Jenna Sutela, Extremophile, 2017. [3] Naeem Mohaiemen, other people’s storage, 2019.

uncertainty and attention in mysterious, torqued spaces
a search for mirages based on rumors
precarious social and material moments
seductive dynamics within structures of authority

As an artistic research program, ACT is perennially concerned with emerging modes of expression that explore evolving forms of knowledge production. In this context, the program’s Fall 2019 Lecture Series asks, “What is art if not an event?”

Philosopher Alain Badiou describes an event as a multiplication of conditions which may not always make sense according to the perceived rules of the ‘situation,’ and which, in coming into being, must provoke, out of a dynamic intervention, something new as that which cannot easily be assigned. The works of the three artists in the Fall 2019 ACT Lecture Series raise some of these same issues in terms of how one might consider the conditions of events in relation to the questions their individual projects explore. Each artist, in different ways, addresses how it is that art functions as an event.

Monday, September 23
Sarah Oppenheimer: "fe_20190923: periodic function"
Sarah Oppenheimer’s artistic interventions bring forward the temporality and perceptual physicality of architecture. Her calculated manipulation of standardized spaces disrupts the embodied experience of spatial continuity, reorienting and clarifying the experience of the built environment.

Monday, November 18
Jenna Sutela: "Extremophile"
Jenna Sutela’s performance/presentation considers the idea of embodied cognition on a planetary scale, presenting an audiovisual and narrative zoom from outer space to inside our gut. Understanding oneself as interconnected with wider environments marks a profound shift in subjectivity, one beyond anthropocentrism and individualism.

Monday, December 2
Naeem Mohaiemen: "Missing Can of Film"
In December of our war year, a Communist filmmaker disappeared. Later, a rumor circulated: He was making a different war film, embarrassing to our own side. He had left behind a 16mm film, hidden inside a can of cooking flour. It may not have been the enemy army that killed him.

Mohaiemen’s work over the last decade has included a search for mirages such as this missing film canister. At the inflection point of digital dystopia, we still attach hope to the analog. The revealed futility of these quests leads to new stories “to take away the bitter.”

ACT’s lecture series draws together artists, cultural practitioners, and scientists from different disciplines to discuss artistic methodologies and forms of inquiry at the intersection of art, architecture, science, and technology.

The Fall 2019 Lecture Series is conceived by Judith Barry, ACT Director, and made possible with the generous support of our partners and collaborators: The Council for the Arts at MIT (CAMIT), MIT School of Architecture and Planning, and MIT Department of Architecture.

Lectures are held from 6–8pm.
Please see our calendar for additional information on other ACT events.

Contact: T +1 617 253 5229 / [email protected]

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