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Andrea Frank
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Ute Meta Bauer
Associate Professor of Visual Arts
Head of the MIT Visual Arts Program (now MIT Program in Art, Culture and Technology)

What are you working on?

I work on questions around the production of space in times of instability and flux, and the role of culture and art under such conditions. Last year, I taught a course that focused on art and catastrophes. This year the topic is shelter. We investigate how these terms have been understood historically and we re-evaluate them from a contemporary perspective. What is the potential of input from the arts? DADA is a great historical example, or the Situationists, but there are also many activist practices today. I am interested in what kind of
meaning or impulse art can give to people in other disciplines. This type of dialogue and exchange encourages situations where interests overlap and where people from different disciplines work together. Here at MIT, it is widely understood that exchange is necessary.

This institution is well known for its problem solving potential. That is the big mandate. I feel that the artists teaching in the Visual Arts Program here at MIT are uniquely suited to make a significant contribution. The complexities of this task are so profound, I believe it is impossible for one single discipline to grasp and handle it all. Additionally, it is very interesting to understand a subject from different points of departure. I very much hope that the arts will become a stronger voice and player within the MIT orchestra.

What kind of artistic practice do you think may best contribute to solutions, or might be
interesting in the context you’re describing?

One example would be our colleague Krzysztof Wodiczko, who directs the Interrogative Design Workshop. This year he is working on the development of vehicles for war veterans. This vehicle is something that would help the veterans, their families, and those who see the unusual looking device confront first hand the traumatophobia caused by the experience of warfare. Perhaps it will even make people who design other components for the different aspects of warfare a bit more reflective. From a social and commercial aspect, this idea is valuable and overlooked.

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for full text see VISIONS - MIT Interviews book

Andrea Frank