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Sunday, July 3, 2022

Harvard Art Museums
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Long before computers came to pervade every aspect of modern life, museums were collecting, organizing, and storing data. The art museum is a kind of vast machine for making all types of objects interoperable, from Bronze Age figurines to contemporary works of performance art. Like our digital machines, museums engender experiences of wonder and discovery—and they’re also engines of bias, power, and invisibility.


During Spring 2022, metaLAB (at) Harvard will take up residency in the Harvard Art Museums’ Lightbox Gallery to explore contact zones across computers, collections, and culture. In the first phase of the program, called Curatorial A(i)gents, metaLAB’s international consortium of artists, data scientists, and scholars will delve deeply into the holdings of the Harvard Art Museums and other collections. These projects use algorithmic methods to uncover patterns and relationships in the collections, making them sensible and navigable in ways that extend beyond the relations of works on walls. The projects will incorporate a range of critical making and media-driven inquiry. Appearing as a weekly cycle of interactive installations, projects will be organized not by collection, but by some of the underlying topics that organize museums, databases, and worlds beyond institutional walls.

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