At MIT, the month of January is known as the Independent Activities Period (IAP), a time during which members of the MIT community can organize activities of various kinds. This month, Céline Semaan Vernon, Chris Bevans, Madeline Sayet, Karole Armitage, Tenzin Priyadarshi, and Sheila Hayman hosted workshops, talks, film screenings, and a great number of meetings with students and other members of the Media Lab community.
EXO Day at the Media Lab
Hosted by Céline Semaan Vernon & Chris Bevans
EXO Day is our version of Shark Tank where scientists, artists, engineers and researchers come together to bring their inventions to life. The concept was simple: take a group of students who are normally deeply engrossed in their particular academic inquiry, and ask them to focus on the external productization of their research: brand development, generating revenue for their idea, how to market and sell their product or marketing ideas targeting a real audience within their given industry.
The think tank day allowed the participants to focus their undivided attention to their innovative ideas and get the support and structure necessary to push innovation into market. Student proposals included new learning tools for children, fashion tech designs, video/card games development, wearable technologies to promote awareness on social and environmental issues, and other ideas. we had a great response from the group, which has inspired Chris and Céline to continue to offer workshops during the school year, and help the students with any questions they may have in regards to bringing their ideas to life as products.
Performance Making Workshop
Hosted by Madeline Sayet & Karole Armitage
Over the course of four days, Madeline, Karole, and six incredibly creative and artistic students investigated how we tell stories-day to day, in our work, and more formal models of theater. They explored the role of performance and experience in the day to day and how we can build performances out of the work we do at the lab and the stories in our lives. Performances are experiments and experiments are performances. Human beings have been telling stories for ages, what is it the story that you want to tell right now?
The week started asking ourselves: What is your/my story? How did you end up doing the work that you do? Is there a journey that inspires you? Participants were given the opportunity to create brief shareable performances pieces made of words, movement, music, silence. During the exploration process through storytelling structures and Shakespeare, the group came to the collective conclusion that the Media Lab, their current creative environment, has a ‘Mind in Hand’ philosophy around its work, and started to ask the question: what happens in the brain when we are telling these stories? when we are so consumed by knowledge and expertise that actions and movement seem automatic, natural, in a what thought-less?
Meditation, Aesthetics, Expression: A Conversation.
Hosted by Tenzin Priyadarshi & Karole Armitage
The premise of the conversation was that the creative process continues to be a mystery to many of us. For some, it has to do with self-expression and communicating with the world around us. For others, it is an intimate and meditative path that guides them through life. Karole and Tenzin shared their thoughts on creativity, meditation, self-awareness, the role ego can play in the creative process, and the transcending values of art. An active participatory audience, including our own Sheila Hayman, made great inquiries and contributions to the discussion. May this be the first of many conversations to be had on the topic of Creativity.
Sheila Hayman’s Documentary Film Festival
Hosted by Sheila Hayman
During the month of January we screened some of Sheila’s documentary films on the Third Floor Atrium screen. The subjects of these films go back to the times when Internet was just being introduced to the masses, and many other technological advancements and discoveries. Sheila believes it might be good to show parts of all of these as a way of introducing where she comes from, creatively, and what we might do together, next. We highly recommend you take a look at Sheila’s work. The three films shown were a great reminder on how our thoughts around technology and the future have come together since the early 1900s (or before). You can watch the films here:
A Short History of the Future: The City (1986)
A Short History of the Future: The Spaceship (1986)
The Electronic Frontier (1993)