MCA Symposium: Art/Science/Spectacle 9/12
How do immersive artworks, such as those created by Olafur Eliasson, play upon our attraction to the spectacular and a fascination with the mechanics of how things work? This afternoon program at Chicago's Museum of Contemporary Art features presentations by three internationally renowned speakers who will trace the history of this phenomenon in art and science, and relate it to wide-ranging developments in consumer culture, optics, psychology, philosophy, and technology. Madeleine Grynsztejn, MCA Pritzker Director and curator of Take your time: Olafur Eliasson, introduces the program.
MCA Symposium: Art/Science/Spectacle
Saturday, September 12, 2009, 2 pm
Museum of Contemporary Art Theater, 220 East Chicago Avenue, Chicago, IL
$10 general admission, $8 MCA members, $6 students
Anthony McCall has a cross-disciplinary practice in which film, sculpture, installation, drawing and performance overlap. McCall was a key figure in the avant-garde London Film-makers Co-operative in the 1970s and his earliest films are documents of outdoor performances that were notable for their minimal use of the elements, most notably fire.
McCall provides the keynote address, discussing the shifts and relationships between the work produced in the 70s by artists of his generation, including his own early works, and that produced by a newer generation, including Eliasson's, contextualizing these shifts within the massive changes that have taken place over the last 15 years in the production, consumption and presentation of culture.
Barbara Stafford, the William B. Ogden Distinguished Service Professor, Emerita, at the University of Chicago, has consistently explored the intersections between the visual arts and the physical and biological sciences from the early modern to the contemporary era. Stafford's most recent book is Echo Objects: The Cognitive Work of Images, (University of Chicago Press, 2007). In her presentation, she discusses how recent discoveries in the brain sciences are upending our assumptions about how we see, imagine, feel and sense the realities of our world.
Paola Bertucci, Assistant Professor of History of Science and Medicine at Yale School of Medicine, researches, lectures and publishes on the history of electricity, natural catastrophes in the age of Enlightenment, the utility of spectacle, and the material culture of science in 18th-century Italy. She has organized several museum exhibitions, including two new permanent installations from the 18th-century collections of the Museum of the History of Science in Florence, Italy (opening in Fall 2009): The Spectacle of Science and Domestic Science. Her talk contextualizes our contemporary fascination with electricity and spectacular phenomena, and elucidate the role that spectacle plays in the presentation and popularization of science.