MIT Reports to the President 1997-98


The Center for Advanced Visual Studies (CAVS) offers an art-based platform for collaborations between artists, scientists, and technologists. These are typically built around projects undertaken by resident Fellows, who also conduct seminars and supervise undergraduate participation. An emerging mission of the CAVS is the exploration of the digital arts as a common ground for collaborative projects. Our goal is the creation of important art that could not or would not be possible except at MIT.

In the Fall of `97, the CAVS moved into newly built quarters on the third floor of Building N52, for which Centerbrook Architects and Planners, of Essex, Connecticut, served as architects. Digital arts hardware and software have been installed and debugged, providing a powerful substrate for further work by the Fellows and visitors to the Center. The new conference room was inaugurated by Prof. Terry Knight for her course on "Design and Computation."

Activities of Fellows and affiliated Faculty during 1997-98 included:

Professor Emeritus Otto Piene (Director Emeritus) coordinated a world-wide logo design competition for the city of Stuttgart, Germany, as part of its "S-21" redevelopment program. First Prize was won by Prof. John Maeda, a former CAVS student now teaching at the Media Laboratory.

Professor Krzysztof Wodiczko received the fourth Hiroshima Art Prize from the city of Hiroshima, Japan. This prize, which is awarded only every three years, recognizes Prof. Wodiczko's public arts pieces, which incorporate a range of interactive and video elements alongside more traditional elements, and are particularly concerned with social change that contributes to world peace.

Professor Terry Knight received an MIT HASS grant in support of her research in design and computation.

Elizabeth Goldring received an award from the Charlotte Moorman Fellowship Fund, in recognition of her contributions as a woman artist, especially in the area of making art accessible to the visually impaired.

Gloria Brown-Simmons pursued a new NASA-sponsored research program on "creative visualization" as a tool to permit artists to use scientific data as a starting point for interactive aesthetic explorations.

Other projects were taken on within the Center by MIT colleagues Prof. Tod Machover, who developed components of his new "Meteor" interactive musical piece there, Kent Larson, who works on large-scale architectural visualizations, and Ron MacNeil, who is exploring artistic uses of high-resolution electronic image projection systems.

Two new Fellows will be selected this year for two-year appointments, continuing the ramp-up toward full operation of the Center. Two new seminars are scheduled as CAVS-based academic activities. An exhibition of art-science-technology projects is being planned as a showcase for contemporary work at CAVS and elsewhere in this rapidly developing field.

More information about the CAVS can be found on the World Wide Web at this URL:

S.A. Benton

MIT Reports to the President 1997-98