More than 200 people turned out to celebrate the inauguration of the MIT Program in Art, Culture and Technology (ACT) on April 15. The new program merges the Center for Advanced Visual Studies and the MIT Visual Arts Program.
The day-long celebration began with the ACT graduate student exhibition "Something like a proposition," which remains open to the public until May 13. Later in the afternoon, a vigorous “Pecha Kucha” slideshow in Bartos Theater provided a whirlwind tour of the work of current ACT affiliates, which was followed by a demonstration by ACT Senior Professor Joan Jonas in “the Cube.” Jonas, a pioneer in video and performance art whose work continues to have an important impact, was introduced by Okwui Enwezor, an internationally-acclaimed curator and writer who currently is an adjunct curator at the International Center of Photography in New York.
An evening reception hosted by School of Architecture + Planning Dean Adèle Naudé Santos provided a chance to discuss prospects for the new ACT program and celebrate its launching with friends, colleagues, alumni and local and international guests. Previous directors of the Center for Advanced Visual Studies and of the MIT Visual Arts Program — Otto Piene, Krzysztof Wodiczko, Dennis Adams and Ute Meta Bauer, all of whom had helped shape the arts at MIT — discussed the significance of the merger.
Juliet Kepes Stone also presented the Gyorgy Kepes Fellowship Prize to Jonas on behalf of the Council for the Arts at MIT. The prize is presented annually to a member of the MIT community who has demonstrated excellence in the creative arts.
The inaugural events were held in two adjacent buildings: the Wiesner building and the newly dedicated Media Lab Complex. ACT offices, labs and facilities recently relocated to these two buildings from their old location in buildings N51-N52. The Wiesner is already home to the List Visual Art Center and MIT's Office for the Arts, and ACT's move unites various art related entities under one roof.