Archived Programming :
The Initiative sponsored 41 "Evocative Objects" seminars. Each sparked
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 1960s Ford Falcons.
Past Evocative Objects Seminars
Spring 2003 included:
Hugh Gusterson, MIT Program in Science, Technology &
The National Ignition Facility
Kim Leary, University of Michigan
Psychoanalytic Selves in Digital Space
Joe Dumit, MIT Program in Science, Technology & Society
Drugs for Life: Pharmaceutical Grammars in the Age of
Trevor Pinch, Cornell University
In Love with a Machine: Women and Analog Electronic Music
Ed Tronick, Harvard University
The Formation of Dyadic States of Consciousness in Infants and
David Mindell, MIT Program in Science, Technology & Society
The Monitor Turret
Jill Conway, MIT Program in Science, Technology & Society
A.D. Little's Scroll Pump: Fluid Dynamics and the
Susan Pollack, Harvard University
Memory Embodiments: A Rolling Pin
Ellen Ullman, author of Close to the Machine
My Data, My Self
Past Evocative Objects Seminars
· Sherry Turkle, Professor of the Social Studies of Science
and Technology, MIT
Ramona, Raymond Kurzweil's virtual alter ego
· Roberta Baskin, Nieman Fellow at Harvard University,
Senior Producer of ABC News "20/20"
The Personal Digital Assistant
· Oron Catts and Ionat Zurr, University of Western
The Tissue Culture and Art Project
· Mitchel Resnick, Associate Professor of Learning Research,
Media Lab, MIT
Emotional Objects for Children
· Edith Ackermann, Professor of Developmental Psychology,
University of Aix-Marseille I, Visiting Professor of Architecture,
Animated Toys, Artificial Creatures, and Avatars
· Evelynn Hammonds, Associate Professor of the History of
Morphing Software: Photography, Race and "Miscegenation" in
· Batya Friedman and Peter Kahn, University of
Sony's Robotic Dog AIBO, Significant Others, and the Imaginative
Leap: How do robotic pets challenge traditional boundaries between
who or what can have intentions and desires, extend our conceptions
of self and significant others, and impede children's social and
· Susan Yee, Research Scientist in the Department of
The Archive as Object: Physical and Digital
· Marina Umaschi Bers, Assistant Professor at the
Eliot-Pearson Department of Child Development, Tufts University
Zora is a three-dimensional multi-user environment that engages
children in the design of a graphical virtual city and its social
· Peter Kramer, Clinical Professor of Psychiatry and Human
Behavior at Brown University
Author of the best-selling book Listening to Prozac, an
examination of the debate over the rights of a troubled individual
to be freed from pain and suffering through medication, and the
rights of society to enjoy literary, artistic, musical or other
creative expressions, which can be suppressed if the artist is
medicated to relieve his or her pain.
· Mitchell Kapor, Chairman, Mitchell Kapor Foundation,
founder of the Lotus Development Corporation and designer of Lotus
LindenWorld, a highly realistic, multi-user, 3D environment
built by its participants to serve as a new laboratory for social
interaction and the exploration of identity.
· Eric Caplan, The Pfizer Corporation
· Glorianna Davenport, MIT Media Laboratory
Memorex and the Sense of Self
· Frank Wilson, Stanford University
The Hand as Template, Text and Tableau
· Judith Donath, MIT Media Laboratory
Virtual Travel: 1964 Ford Falcon
· Ulrich Lehmann, The Royal College of Art/Victoria &
Albert Museum in London
The Olivetti Typewriter as Designed Cognition
· Jonathan Metzl, University of Michigan
Woman in a Pharmaceutical Ad: Selling Sanity Through
· Orit Halpern, Harvard University
The Experience of the Archive: Physical and Digital
· Mary Lou Maher, MIT
The Virtual World as a Society of Agents
· Ricki Goldman, New Jersey Institute of Technology
The Camera as an Evocative Eye
· Jari Joergensen, University of Aarhus, Denmark
Cyberculture, Science, and AIBO
· Andrew Stern, InteractiveStory.net
The Significant Other
On March 5th, 2004, the Initiative held an "Evocative Objects" symposium,
a full day of presentations on objects and supporting theoretical papers,
described below. The symposium was the culminating event of the seminar
series. Papers from the symposium are among the collected essays for
the first Initiative/MIT Press publication Evocative Objects: Things
We Think With, edited and with an introduction by Sherry Turkle. This
volume includes 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.
|Evocative Objects 2004
Friday, March 5, 2004
Session (Killian Hall - 14W - 111)
Turkle, MIT, Science, Technology, and Society
Director of the Initiative on Technology and Self
Welcome: Things We Think With
Resnick, MIT, Media Lab
Stars of My Childhood
Csikszentmihályi, MIT, Media Lab
Caroline Jones, MIT Architecture; and Krzysztof Wodiczko, MIT, Architecture
A Conversation: Are Aesthetic Objects Transitional Objects?
Machover, MIT, Media Lab
My Cello: Listening, Touch, and Evocative Music
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.
Session (Killian Hall - 14W - 111)
Pollock, MIT, Science, Technology, and Society
Technology to the Heart: Experiences of Internal Defibrillators
Gordon Mitten, Harvard University,
Classical Art and Archaeology Archaic Native American stone three-quarter-grooved
axehead, from Holmes County, Ohio. Date: around 3400 B.C.
MIT Initiative on Technology and Self
Panel and audience discussion: What have we learned
(MIT Faculty Club - E52-6th Floor)
Csikszentmihályi 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.
is a researcher and PhD candidate at the MIT Media Lab. She is developing
a new method of personal, societal, and psychoanalytical engagement termed
Machine Therapy. Combining art, design, neuroscience, and engineering, Dobson
explores connections between people and machines, empathic opportunites,
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 imitation leathers.
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.
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 Press.
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
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
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.
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.
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 technical level.
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
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.
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
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.
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.