BEING MATERIAL: 2017 CAST Symposium at MIT (Cambridge, Massachusetts)

In 1995, MIT’s Nicholas Negroponte predicted that “being digital” would have us entering a realm increasingly unconstrained by the materiality of the world. Two decades later, our everyday lives are indeed ever more suffused by computation and calculation. But unwieldy materiality persists and even reasserts itself. Programmable matter, self-assembling structures, 3D/4D printing, wearable technologies, and bio-inspired design today capture the attention of engineers, scientists, and artists. BEING MATERIAL will showcase recent developments in materials systems and design, placing this work in dialogue with kindred and contrasting philosophy, art practice, and critique. Panels on the PROGRAMMABLE, WEARABLE, LIVABLE, and INVISIBLE — along with a concert, AUDIBLE — will explore new and unexpected meetings of the digital and material worlds.

Life in Picoseconds (Cambridge, Massachusetts)

Life in Picoseconds, the 23rd experiment at Le Laboratoire, is a collaboration between French design team Millimetre, video artist and scientist Charles Reilly, artist Daniel Faust, artist and researcher Anna Ondaatje, and Le Laboratoire founder David Edwards. Integral to the Life in Picoseconds experience is an extraordinary new form of digital representation, the Atom Screen. With the Atom Screen, still and moving images appear on swirls of particles that move in chaotic and prescribed ways between glass panels, producing unusual, abstract, and realistic representations that convey emotive, artistic, and scientific impressions.

The Atom Screen represents a new impressionistic movement in digital screen technology that departs from the advance of digital screens toward hyper-realistic representation.

In the exhibition, several works by New York-based photographer/artist Daniel Faust, taken from his recent exhibition Silicon in San Jose, California, appear next to a large vertical Atom Screen. These images, depicting starkly poetic moments and visions of Valley reality, appear on the Atom Screen as superpositions on randomly scattered particles that cover fractions of the screen surface, which disintegrate and reconfigure from minute to minute.

Further into the exhibition, a second, larger Atom Screen hangs in the center of the gallery. Particles rush in ceaseless motion and provide a kind of thermal agitation to the original film Life in Picoseconds by Charles Reilly.

Reilly’s film is a molecular simulation of a protein molecule unfolding in the picosecond time-frame of molecular life. Here the Atom Screen provides a more realistic atomistic relief and a here-not-here quantum perspective on the molecular unfolding process. Visitors can walk around the Atom Screen and observe Life in Picoseconds as a positive or negative moving image or sit and experience the entire unfolding process, which lasts around 20 minutes.

Life in Picoseconds is an interdisciplinary exploration of aesthetic representation in the digital medium where the substrate becomes an active partner to the projected digital image, in the way analog materials participated in the abstraction of modern art.

CODED_COUTURE at Tufts University (Medford, Massachusetts)

The Tufts University Art Gallery at the Shirley and Alex Aidekman Arts Center proudly presents CODED_COUTURE, an exhibition that proposes a new interpretation of couture where coding is the ultimate design tool for creating customized garments and accessories. The works displayed range from forward-looking garments and accessories to video projections, objects, drawings, photographs, and interactive applications that provide the public with greater insights into what the future of fashion may hold. The exhibition, which will open January 24-May 21, 2017, is curated by Ginger Gregg Duggan and Judith Hoos Fox of c2-curatorsquared and features work by 10 international designers. A public opening reception will be held January 26 from 5:00 to 7:30 pm.

The works in CODED_COUTURE are categorized according to four basic coding themes: biological, cultural, psychological, and synergistic. The themes explore topics of identity, representation, and how we relate to others through highly personalized fashion designs.

Featured projects include a dress design by Dutch designers Melissa Coleman that uses a speech recognition system to analyze voice stress as an indicator of untruthfullness. The dress lights up and administers shocks based on the wearer’s responses, “training” the wearer to become more truthful. The dress will be on display alongside a video that will show it in use.

The iMiniSkirt by British fashion brand CuteCircuit (Francesca Rosella and Ryan Genz) is similar to their Twitter dress, the world’s first evening dress that displays live Tweets across its fabric surface. The iMiniSkirt also changes color and animation based on real-time audience input creating a constantly evolving dynamic display. Visitors will be encouraged to interact with the piece using a specially-created hashtag and app on the nearby tablet.

Accessories by British designer Amy Congdon that envision a world where new luxury materials are fashioned from cells, not fabrics. Her collections transcend the realm of the lab, exist as fashion, and employ tissue engineering and bio-ink jet printing. The prototype objects on display are fashioned from enamel scales and will be accompanied by photographs from Congdon’s lab.

Other artists included in the exhibition are Marloes ten Bhömer, Cedric Flazinski, Ying Gao, Mary Huang, N O R M A L S, Rebeccah Pailes-Friedman, Simon Thorogood, and Alison Tsai.

CODED_COUTURE is organized by the Department of Exhibitions, Pratt Institute, Brooklyn, New and is curated by Ginger Gregg Duggan and Judith Hoos Fox of c2 curatorsquared. The exhibition is sponsored in part by the Elizabeth Firestone Graham Foundation.

Not of This Earth: Contemporary Art and Science Fiction (Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts)

Not of this Earth: Contemporary Art and Science Fiction is an exhibition comprised of art relating to science fiction. Sci-fi has been a prevailing method of entertainment and consideration of the seemingly possible consequences of technological advancement. The artworks in this exhibition consider these possible alternate realities and dystopian futures long perpetuated by the sci-fi genre. Some pieces share a kinship with the big-screen aesthetic popularized in the 1950s and carried forward in television such as Michael Lewy’s Bigfoot Island. Borrowing narrative and aesthetic elements from the many television shows he watched as a child in the ‘70s — including Lost in Space, the Six Million Dollar Man, Star Trek, and Land of the Lost — Michael Lewy created Bigfoot Island, a homage to past pioneers. Some pieces in the show are purposeful instruments such as Sophia Breuckner’s Empathy Box, which provides its users a sense of shared contact through warmth. In a world of technological distraction, Empathy Box attempts to provide comfort through perceived physical connectivity. A technological device itself, the piece yields an alternate use of electronics and asks the viewer to consider the ways in which technology may impact our lives presently and in the future.

The artists in this exhibition include: Sophia Brueckner, Micah Ganske, Tatiana Gulenkina, Carol Hayes, Michael Lewy, Joseph Popper, Chris Rackley, and Marion Tampon-Lajarriette.

HUBweek 2016 (Boston, Massachusetts)

We’re thrilled to share that HUBweek 2016 will take place this fall from Sunday, September 25 through Saturday, October 1, hosted across Boston, Cambridge and Somerville. This year, three concepts that are critical in fueling our innovation & creative economy will be explored in-depth.

Ideas to impact: Exploring pathways to support and advance early-stage ideas to impact. Fostering ideas that will have a long-term, positive impact on society.

Intersections (in art, science, and technology): Exploring the next digital revolution at the intersection of art, science and technology. Encouraging cross-disciplinary collaborations for cross-disciplinary solutions.

Inclusive innovation: Increasing opportunities for all members of society to be a part of the innovation process. Ensuring that advancements in tech benefit all in society.

Throughout the week, these themes will influence programming, activations and conversations at every level. Five events taking place during HUBweek 2016 have been announced, with many more to come.

WEAR Conference 2016 (Boston, Massachusetts)

Established in 2004, WEAR Conference is the longest-running conference series dedicated to smart textiles, wearable technology, material innovation and the business of consumer experience.

What’s happening with pace setters in the industry and research labs; how wearables are becoming enablers for good and improving quality of life. Organized visits around the city for tech development through guided tours to wearable and design firms and the special exhibition at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts on smart fabrics and wearable tech. Hands-on exploration of new tech products at the WEAR exhibit hall.

#techstyle at Museum of Fine Arts (Boston, Massachusetts)

Clothes that respond to the environment, dresses you can tweet, and garments that come off a 3-D printer ready to wear—all of these innovations are poised to have a profound impact on the future of the fashion industry. Designers have embraced these innovations and “#techstyle” explores how the synergy between fashion and technology is not only changing the way designers design, but also the way people interact with their clothing. The exhibition draws on the MFA’s collection of contemporary fashion and accessories, and features key pieces from innovators in the field including a digitally-printed dress from Alexander McQueen’s Plato’s Atlantis collection (Spring/Summer 2010/2011) and Iris van Herpen’s 3-D printed dress (2013) produced in collaboration with MIT designer and assistant professor Neri Oxman. Visitors experience the cutting edge of hi-tech fashion with special commissions created by Cute Circuit, Hussein Chalayan, and Cambridge-based Nervous System.

Birdly by Max Rheiner Virtual Reality Immersive Experience (Cambridge, Massachusetts)

Presented by Swissnex @ Le Laboratoire Cambridge

BIRDLY is an installation which explores the experience of a bird in flight. It captures the mediated flying experience, with several methods. Unlike a common flight simulator you do not control a machine with joysticks, a mouse or thousands of buttons: you intuitively embody a bird, the Red Kite. To evoke this embodiment Birdly mainly relies on sensory-motor coupling. The participant can command the installation with arms and hands which directly correlates to the wings (flapping) and the primary feathers of the bird. Those inputs are reflected in the flight model of the bird and displayed physically by the simulator through nick, roll and heave movements…

Visualised through a Head Mounted Display (HMD) the participant is embedded in a virtual landscape where the users body is the body of a Red Kite. The whole scenery is perceived in the first person perspective of a bird. To intensify the embodiment we include additional sonic, and wind feedback. Soundwise you perceive only the roaring of the wind and the flaps of the wings. According to the speed of the bird the simulator regulates the headwind from a fan mounted infront of the user.

Birdly’s intuitive approach to flying, its full body immersion and the unique combination of custom Hard- and Software are unprecedented until this day.

E-Waste: Works by Katherine Behar (Boston, Massachusetts)

Behar’s installation centers on a series of sculptures inspired by a science fiction scenario in which commonplace USB peripherals are doomed to continue working long after the humans they were designed to serve have gone extinct. The gadgets are transformed into mutant fossils, encased in stone with lights blinking, speakers chirping, and fans spinning, eternally. The exhibition also includes a video series, Modeling Big Data – in which the artist inhabits an obese, over-grown data body, to humorous and poignant effect, and a 3D printer installation, 3D-&& – in which a fossilized printer slowly produces “scarab” covers for a network of glowing USB mouses, while its motors chirp out messages in Morse Code.