May 07, 2012
“The World, Exposed” with Chris Csikszentmihályi
: Courtesy Seattle Center..
World’s fairs and expositions were once a fantastic venue for industry and governments to assert their visions of the future, but in hindsight they revealed far more about their present. Each Fair was a metonym for their moment, and the mid-Century fairs in particular banked on markets and technology with an zealous urgency. What would a contemporary fair look like? Where would be the best location? Or have we invented an entirely better, more continuous approach to exposition?
Saturday, May 12, 8 pm
Intiman Playhouse at Seattle Center
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Chris Csikszentmihályi, an artist, designer, and technologist, is Professor of Media Design Matters at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena and Distinguished Visiting Professor of Art and Design Research at Parsons the New School for Design. He cofounded and directed the MIT Center for Future Civic Media (C4), which was dedicated to developing technologies that strengthen communities. He also founded the MIT Media Lab’s Computing Culture group, which worked to create unique media technologies for cultural and political applications. Trained as an artist, he has worked in the intersection of new technologies, media, and the arts for 16 years, lecturing, showing new media work, and presenting installations on five continents and one subcontinent. He was a 2005 Rockefeller New Media Fellow, and a 2007-2008 fellow at Harvard’s Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, and has taught at the University of California at San Diego, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and at Turku University.
Csikszentmihályi’s Computing Culture research group is known for developing political technologies that rebalance power between citizens, corporations, and governments. From Afghan Explorer, a tele-operated robot journalist designed to bypass Pentagon and Taliban press censorship, to txtMob, a mobile phone based activist system that enabled highly effective protests at the 2004 RNC and DNC, these systems are working proofs of concept and sometimes also widely used and distributed tools. The group also works to develop technologies of empathy, including Cherry Blossoms, an automatic pamphlet distribution system to memorialize civilian war deaths, or OMO, the sympathetic breathing robot.
C4 works to develop social and technical systems that allow communities to research and reflect on their condition, and to take action in their interests. Work ranges from mapping and blogging systems for Gaza, to space-based wikis of unusual features of a community, to work with citizens groups from Zimbabwe to New York trying to assert their interests against oppressive, top-down interference. Csikszentmihályi is currently leading the extrAct research project, a large-scale effort to bring software-based tools for collective action to parts of the US that are heavily affected by oil and natural gas drilling.
Csikszentmihályi is represented by the Location One Gallery in New York’s SoHo and Fringe Exhibitions in Los Angeles. He toured museums and nightclubs with his mechanical hip hop device, DJ I, Robot, which was nominated for the Best Artistic Software award at Berlin’s Transmediale, while a previous piece, Natural Language Processor, was commissioned by the KIASMA Museum in Helsinki, Finland. The catalog for his installations Skin and Control is published by Charta and distributed by DAP, and he served on the National Academy of Science’s IT and Creativity panel. Csikszentmihályi received an MFA from the University of California at San Diego, and a BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.
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