Experiments In Motion Blog

The Curator's Blog


Navigating Dreams on Skateboards

Dreams have an uncanny feel; they incorporate the materials of daily life to sometimes bizarre, beautiful or unsettling effect.  “Cuatro Sueños Pequeños” (translated into English the title means “The Four Small Dreams”) is a skateboard film directed by Thomas Campbell.  The film uses the conceit of skateboarders navigating a dream world, one that feels distinctly different from the digital deluge of images and video of skateboarding uploaded everyday.


Love Letters To Urban Neighborhoods

By Stephen Powers

Valentine’s Day brings an avalanche of platitudes, from the banal to the heartfelt, delivered to the subject of one’s amore. Normally, the recipient of these overtures is a person, but in the case of artist Stephen Powers, city neighborhoods, and the people that live and work in them, are the muse. Claiming the sides of forgotten buildings and outdated infrastructure as his canvas, Powers presents city dwellers with provocative text-based art that riffs on popular forms of communication, from self-help affirmations and advertising mantras to starry-eyed confessions. This earnest language cast in colorful formations is a satisfyingly jolting juxtaposition


Hacking Buildings and Infrastructure Using Swings and Insanity

The contemporary urban environment can feel oppressive and majestic, buildings towering high above the toiling masses below.  Who is controlling our spaces and to what purpose?  Slipping in between these questions of ownership and use are Berlin based artists Matthias Wermke and Mischa  Leinkauf, who explore their surrounding environment making short videos and taking photographs documenting their interventions.



Nakagin Capsule Tower by Kisho Kurakawa, Japan, 1972.

The Nakagin Capsule Tower was designed to be the perfect machine for bachelor living.  Each 12x6x6 capsule, with porthole window at one end, was completely modular and adaptable to the needs of its particular inhabitant.  The full potential of the project was never realized and now exists as a testament to the modernist desire for pod living.


Before GIFs there was Ballet Mécanique

"Le Ballet Mecanique," filmed in 1924, demonstrates Legers preoccupation with the new technology of the moving image invented by Thomas Edison.  

Léger’s groundbreaking film “Ballet Mécanique,” was completed with the help of American filmmaker Dudley Murphy, artist Man Ray, and experimental composer George Antheil (the score included 16 mechanized pianos, an airplane propeller, and sirens). The fractured imagery and percussive instrumentation of the film once evokes the experience of the modern metropolis.


Jorge Otero-Pailos


MIT Keller Gallery
Opening February 6, 2014, 6:00-8:00 PM
77 Massachusetts Avenue, Building 7, 4th floor; Cambridge, MA 02139 

Space-Time captures one third of one millionth of a second in a twelve-hour re-enactment of Harold Edgerton’s historic laboratory experiment at MIT, conducted in 1964, in which he successfully photographed a supersonic bullet travelling at Mach 2.39 through a Macintosh apple. The re-enactment pursued historical fidelity in everything but its title—Edgerton called it Bullet Through Apple. The title change is meant to shift attention to the reception of Edgerton’s work within architectural discourse as an early scientific visualization of Space-Time, a modernist concept articulated by Sigfried Giedion, and other prominent architectural theorists in the late 1930s, who were interested in the effects of high-speed motion through space on the human perception of time. They were influenced by Einstein who theorized that, paradoxically, the faster one’s relative speed through space the slower one’s relative experience of time. That is perhaps why Edgerton’s retrospective monograph of high-speed photographs was titled Stopping Time.

Movement can be a physical or a conceptual act. Physically we can change our location in space, mentally we can project ourselves in time. Preservation is an attempt, if not to stop time, then at least to slow down our experience of it by stabilizing the appearance of things over time. But the logic of Space-Time suggests that we may have been going about preservation in entirely the wrong way. Counterintuitive as it might seem, preservation might achieve its goals better by projecting conceptual movements rather than stabilizing physical forms. The re-enactment is an invitation to consider Space-Time as an enabling concept of your movement between two images taken fifty years apart.

The concept of Space-Time fell out of fashion with early modernism. Arguably the concept was born too early. It failed in part because it was brought into architectural discourse prematurely, when preservation was in its infancy and could not recognize its value and radical potential. Space-Time, like other untimely innovations (think of Paul Nipkow’s 1884 patent for television), belonged conceptually to the future.

*Historical artifacts provided by MIT Museum and MIT Edgerton Center; Firearms expertise and operation by Mike Conti; Film Processing and Printing by LTI Lightside; Scene set and lit, and latent image captured by Nathan Carlson Friedman, Kyle Hounsell, Theresa Mislick, James W. Bales, and Jorge Otero-Pailos.


Fantastic 3D Sweatshirts 

Designed by the t-shirt issue at the Museum of Art and Design’s Out of Hand show - up until June 1st.




Santa’s Workshop: Fun collaborative open workspace or despicable exploitative sweatshop?  

It also looks like Santa was a trailblazing human cloning expert.

Santa seems to have invented the GIF as a workflow. These GIFs come from the classic 1932 Disney movie “Santa’s Workshop” by Wilfred Jackson - essentially 6 solid minutes of GIFs.

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This blog chronicles the project from the perspective of the curators. Be sure to follow the individual studio blogs for studio-specific updates, and the student blogs to follow individual's work.

Christopher Barley

Independent curator and partner in the firm Therrien Barley.

Troy Conrad Therrien

Partner in the firm Therrien Barley, and Chief Architect, Cloud Communication Software at Columbia GSAPP.