MIT Initiative on Technology and Self
Evocative Objects Seminars
One of the hallmark activities of the Initiative has been a
speaker series known as the "Evocative Objects" seminars. These seminars, open to the public, are informal gatherings focused
on an (evocative) object, that is, an object that causes us to
think differently about such categories as self, other, intention,
desire, emotion, the body...
Upcoming Evocative Objects Events:
Over the past two and a half years, the Initiative has sponsored
an"Evocative Objects" seminar that has sparked significant conversation
about material culture, emotions, and epistemology through close
"readings" of objects, ranging from Olivetti portable typewriters and
Moog synthesizers to 19th century pumps and 1950s Ford Falcons.
This academic year we plan an "Evocative Objects" symposium on March
5th, 2004, a full day of presentations on objects and supporting
theoretical papers. A poster for the symposium can be downloaded here (.pdf format). The symposium is free and open to the public. A map can be found here.
We are also currently collecting essays for our first publication, Evocative
Objects: Things We Think With, edited and with an introduction by
Sherry Turkle. This volume will include highlights from our seminar
series as well as new papers from authors who share its object-oriented
perspective on the social studies of science and technology.
Read more about the "Evocative Objects" symposium in this Boston Globe article.
Schedule: Evocative Objects 2004
Friday, March 5, 2004
"Evocative Objects" seminar has been a defining activity of the
Initiative over the past two and a half years, a series of
conversations about the changing relationship between human beings and
their artifacts. We have examined material culture, emotions, and
epistemology through close "readings" of objects, ranging from 19th
century pumps and Olivetti portable typewriters to Moog synthesizers
and 1950s Ford Falcons. In this sixth term of the seminar, we have
adopted a new format, a full-day symposium on objects and supporting theoretical discussions.
We hope you will join us for one or more of the day's presentations and events.
Please RSVP to email@example.com, if you plan to join us.
Morning Session (Killian Hall - 14W - 111)
Sherry Turkle, MIT, Science, Technology, and Society
Director of the Initiative on Technology and Self
Welcome: Things We Think With
Mitchel Resnick, MIT, Media Lab
Stars of My Childhood
Christopher Csikszentmihályi, MIT, Media Lab
Caroline Jones, MIT Architecture; and Krzysztof Wodiczko, MIT, Architecture
A Conversation: Are Aesthetic Objects Transitional Objects?
Tod Machover, MIT, Media Lab
My Cello: Listening, Touch, and Evocative Music
Real/Faux Lunch (Media Lab Atrium - E15)
Robert Kanigel, Director, Graduate Program in Science Writing, MIT and Kelly Dobson, MIT, Media Lab
Everyone is encouraged to bring examples of their favorite real and faux objects -- from Mont Blanc to Prada.
Afternoon Session (Killian Hall - 14W - 111)
Anne Pollock, MIT, Science, Technology, and Society
Technology to the Heart: Experiences of Internal
David Gordon Mitten, Harvard University,
Classical Art and Archaeology Archaic Native American stone
three-quarter-grooved axehead, from Holmes County, Ohio. Date: around
Working Group Leaders
MIT Initiative on Technology and Self
Panel and audience discussion: What have we learned
about Evocative Objects?
Reception (MIT Faculty Club - E52-6th Floor)
is the Fukutake Assistant Professor of Media Arts and Sciences.
He directs the MIT Media Lab's Computing Culture group, and works
in the intersection of new technologies, media, and the arts,
frequently lecturing, showing new media work, and presenting
installations in both Europe and North America. Csikszentmihályi
has toured with DJ I, Robot, which was nominated for the Best Artistic
Software award at Berlin's Transmediale, and he serves on the National
Academy of Science's IT & Creativity panel.
Kelly Dobson is a researcher and PhD candidate at the MIT Media Lab.
She is developing a new method of personal, societal, and
engagement termed Machine Therapy. Combining art, design, neuroscience,
and engineering, Dobson explores connections between people and
machines, empathic opportunities, and transitional object architectures.
teaches contemporary art and theory in the History, Theory, and
Criticism Section of the Department of Architecture at MIT.
Producer/director of two documentary films and curator of several
exhibitions, her books include the award-winning Machine in the Studio:
Constructing the Postwar American Artist (Chicago 1996/98), and the
forthcoming Eyesight Alone: Clement Greenberg's Modernism and the Bureaucratization of the Senses.
is director of MIT's new Graduate Program in Science Writing. He is
the author of The Man Who Knew Infinity and The One Best Way, a
biography of Frederick Winslow Taylor, the first efficiency expert.
His current project, Faux Real, explores the borderland between the
natural and artificial using leather and the quest for ever-better
Tod Machover is Professor of Music & Media at the MIT Media Lab,
and head of its Hyperinstruments/Opera of the Future group. He has
composed five operas, including the celebrated Brain Opera, and is the
inventor of Hyperinstruments, a technology that has been used by
performers as diverse as Yo-Yo Ma, Prince, and Peter Gabriel. Machover
is also the creator of the Toy Symphony, an international music
performance and education project.
David Gordon Mitten
is James Loeb Professor of Classical Art and Archaeology at Harvard
University. He teaches classics, history of art, Near Eastern languages
and literatures, and a Harvard Divinity School seminar on archaeology and the New Testament. George M.A.
Hanfmann Curator of Ancient and Byzantine Art of the Harvard University
Art Museums, Mitten's lifelong research is on classical bronze statues and vessels.
is a third-year graduate student in the History and Social Studies of
Science and Technology in the Program in Science, Technology and
Society at MIT. Her fields of interest include the social studies
of medicine, the body and technology, and race and gender and medicine. Her presentation today focuses on the lived
experiences of heart disease--with particular attention to the ways
that implants (especially internal cardioverter defibrillators) and
pharmaceuticals (especially racialized ones) shape those experiences.
is director of the Lifelong Kindergarten research group at the MIT
Media Lab, which explores how new technologies can help people
(particularly children) learn new things in new ways. His research
group developed the ideas and technologies underlying the LEGO
Mindstorms robotics construction kit, and he co-founded the Computer
Clubhouse project, a network of after-school learning centers for youth
from under-served communities. Resnick is author of the book Turtles, Termites, and Traffic Jams (1994).
is Abby Rockefeller Mauzé Professor in the Program in Science,
Technology, and Society at MIT and the founder and director of the MIT
Initiative on Technology and Self. She is the author of Psychoanalytic Poltics: Jacques Lacan and Freud's French Revolution,
The Second Self: Computers and the Human Spirit, and Life on the
Screen: Identity in the Age of the Internet. Known for her work on children and computers and computer-mediated relationship, her most
recent research focuses on the relationship between people and robots.
is director of A.C.T., the Center of Art, Culture, and Technology at
MIT, formerly known as the Center for Advanced Visual Studies.
His interests include nomadic design; art, identity and community; design, technology and ethics; the art of
counter-memory; and interrogative design. Wodiczko was awarded the
Hiroshima Prize for his contribution as an artist to world peace.Volumes of his writings have been published by Ecole Nationale
Supérieure des Beaux Arts in Paris and more recently by MIT
Final Session Panelists
Edith Ackermann is a
Visiting Professor at the MIT School of Architecture. Developmental
psychologist by training, she consults for LEGO, CREATE: TV and Film,
and other organizations and research institutions interested in the
intersections between children, learning, design, and digital technologies. Ackermann was a
Senior Research Scientist at Mitsubishi Electric Research Laboratory;
Associate and Assistant Professor of Media Arts and Sciences at the
MIT Media Lab; and a Scientific Collaborator at the Centre
International d'Epistémologie Génétique, under the
direction of Jean Piaget.
Alexander Brown is a
graduate student in the Program in Science, Technology, and Society at
MIT. His work examines engineering practice in the 1960s, 1970s,
1980s and 1990s, using accidents and failures and their subsequent
investigations to examine the changing cultures of engineering within
NASA. He is particularly interested in the social, technological and
epistemological consequences of the introduction of simulation and
visualization tools into engineering.
Nate Greenslit is a
fourth-year doctoral student in the Program in Science, Technology, and
Society at MIT. His research interests include the anthropology of
pharmaceutical marketing and the social history of mood disorders. His
work has been published in Culture, Medicine & Psychiatry, and The
History of Psychiatry. Greenslit is also editing the first reader in
pharmaceutical studies, entitled Pharmaceutical Cultures: Marketing
Drugs and Changing Lives in the
U.S., which will be published by Cambridge University Press in 2005.
Yanni Loukissas is a
doctoral candidate in the Department of Architecture at MIT and a
Visiting Professor of Sculpture at the School of the Museum of Fine
Arts in Boston. He leads the Initiative's working group on
Design, Space, and Software. His personal research explores the
intersection of design and computation at a sociological and a
Natasha Myers is a
Doctoral Fellow in the Program in Science, Technology, and Society at
MIT. Her current research explores the visual cultures of
contemporary biology, investigating a range of new digital imaging,
modeling and simulation practices within laboratories. She aims to track how these technologies move beyond
laboratories into pedagogical contexts (classrooms, museums, online
educational sites) to learn more about how biological images of living
bodies, tissues, cells and molecules are embodied in the imaginations
of a wider public.
Rachel Prentice is
finishing a doctorate in the Program in Science, Technology, and
Society at MIT. Her dissertation, "Bodies of Information: Reinventing
Bodies and Practice in Medical Education," is an ethnography about
groups of physicians, engineers, and computer experts building computer
applications and simulations for teaching anatomy and surgery. Before
graduate school, she worked as a newspaper reporter.
Aslihan Sanal is a
doctoral candidate in the Program in Science, Technology, and Society
at MIT. As an anthropologist, she works on the impact of biomedical
technologies on our changing understanding of the body and the self.
Sanal looks into organ transplantations, tissue engineering, bioart and
writes on how technology gives a new meaning to our sense of being.
Lily Shirvanee is a
research assistant in the Synthetic Character's group at the MIT Media
Lab, where her research focuses on issues of an intelligent behavior
system which includes learning, social interaction, motor control, and
animation. Within the area of artificial intelligence, she has been
interested in the subset of empathy and how we learn reflexively
through our emotional states and the research areas of Mixed Reality,
Tangible Augmented Reality, Artificial Intelligence, and Human Computer
Interfaces and Sensors.
Copyright © 2003 Massachusetts Institute of Technology