Faculty Research

The Art, Culture and Technology faculty is composed of an internationally renowned group of practicing artists.

Azra Akšamija | Assistant Professor
As an artist and architectural historian, Akšamija investigates transcultural aesthetics, cultural mobility, and ways in which art and architecture can facilitate a bridge between cultures. She explores the potency of art and architecture as a creative and critical response and a transformation of cultural or political conflicts, and in so doing, provide a framework for researching, analyzing, and intervening in contested socio-political realities. Her recent academic research focused on the representation of Islam in the West, architecture and nationalism in the Balkans since the 1990s, and the agency of cultural memory in connecting divided societies. Her recent artistic work focuses on representation of Islamic identities in the West, spatial mediation of identity politics, and cultural pedagogy. Aksamija's multi-disciplinary work, produced under a unique methodological framework that she terms Transcultural Practice, combines intangible heritage from different cultural and historical contexts—cultural practices, representations, artifacts, skills, materials, media and technologies—towards the creation of new art forms and shared future heritage.

Renée Green | Professor
Professor Renée Green is an artist, filmmaker and writer. Via films, essays and writings, installations, digital media, architecture, sound-related works, film series and events her work engages with investigations into circuits of relation and exchange over time, the gaps and shifts in what survives in public and private memories as well as what has been imagined and invented. She also focuses on the effects of a changing transcultural sphere on what can now be made and thought. Her exhibitions, videos and films have been seen throughout the world in museums, biennales and festivals.

Gediminas Urbonas | ACT Director, Associate Professor
Gediminas Urbonas is Associate Professor and Mitsui Career Development Chair in the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Department of Architecture, and is co-founder with Nomeda Urbonas of Urbonas Studio, an interdisciplinary research practice that advocates for the reclamation of public space, stimulating cultural and political imagination as tools for social change. Combining new and old media, their work frequently involves collective activities contributing to the cross-disciplinary exchange between several nodes of knowledge production: network and participatory technologies; sensorial media and public space; environmental remediation design and spatial organization; and alternative planning design integration. They also collaborate with experts in different cultural fields to develop practice-based artistic research models that allow participants—including their students—to pursue projects that merge urbanism, new media, social sciences and pedagogy to critically address the transformation of civic space.

Lara Baladi
Multidisciplinary Egyptian-Lebanese artist Lara Baladi works with archives to investigate and interpret myths, personal histories and socio-political narratives. Her work ranges from architectural and multi-media installations, to photography, collage, tapestry, perfume and sculpture. Currently, Baladi is the Ida Ely Artist in Residence at MIT’s Centre for Art, Science and Technology (CAST), where she is developing ‘Vox Populi, Archiving a Revolution in the Digital Age’, an interactive timeline of the 2011 Egyptian revolution. This immersive web based multimedia installation will offer an architectural frame to read the many historical events and socio-political movements that resonate with the name Tahrir Square.

Claudia Joskowicz
Through slow video sequences Joskowicz’s work looks at history and its repercussions on the physical and symbolic landscape. In her videos and installations, the viewer’s gaze is directed from the events depicted on the screen to the physical movement of the camera through space, and through movement in an imaginary cinematic space where events present 
in the global collective memory and personal stories that possess a historic dimension are revisited and anchored in her native Latin American landscape. On the whole, her work addresses the way technology mediates and redefines concepts like history, memory, and reality.

Kelly Nipper
Kelly Nipper's practice explores movement notation and analysis as a means to evaluate ideas about composition, computation and communication with specific reference to motion, proxemics, time and contact. Her current research explores the cohesion of crystalline forms as a type of communication and community and the social and global implications of innovative technologies, clandestine operations and esoteric practices that modify the space-time continuum yielding other environments. These sets of interacting and interdependent components form an integrated whole and a proposition of how to consider the fabric of the universe and the building blocks of life-forms. 

Tobias Putrih
Tobias Putrih engages 20th century avant-gardes, particularly utopian and visionary concepts of architecture and design, through a range of conceptual and materially ephemeral projects. He designs makeshift architectural modifications of public spaces—cinemas, a library, galleries, and a university commons—constructing temporary environments out of paper, cardboard, plywood, monofilament, and light. Sculptures are made of fugitive materials such as soap bubble membranes, or through precise handling of everyday manufactured materials like Styrofoam and cardboard. His sculptures are products of precisely specified processes while also responding to their sites; some sculpture is problematized as furniture to be moved and inhabited, privileging bodily engagement over vision. Putrih deals with artworks as proposals, maquettes, or models—exploratory assertions of radical possibilities, the idea of the monument reconceptualized as something momentary and experimental.