Mapping and Connectivity: Works by Nathalie Miebach and Yu-Wen Wu
April 25 - June 24, 2022
An exhibit in the Stanley Building lobby, and Second Floor Connector.
Virtual Conversation with the Artists
Monday, June 6, 2022, 4:00PM
Watch the Recording
For centuries, we have used maps to chart the world — from the body to the stars and everything in between. Both foreign and familiar, we can both lose and find ourselves. Mapping is a way of using spatial reasoning. Many contemporary artists use maps to inform their work: Google maps, imaginary maps, mind maps, genome mapping, historical maps, and especially data visualization. The results are often reflective and personal. How do we discover the way to each other and back to ourselves?
We have become accustomed to reading maps, which show us the many changes and problems in our country and around the world: climate change, weather tracking, voting districts, COVID illnesses and deaths. Nathalie Miebach and Yu-Wen Wu reveal, translate, and manifest data and its interpretation in their work. This narrative impulse pervades their respective practices, as they seek to understand the world for themselves and to inspire us to see a way forward.
About the Artists
Nathalie Miebach explores the intersection of art and science by translating scientific data related to meteorology, ecology, and oceanography into woven sculptures and musical scores/ performances. Her main method of data translation is basket weaving, which functions as a simple, tactile grid through which to interpret data into 3D space. Central to this work is her desire to explore the role that visual and musical aesthetics play in the translation and understanding of complex scientific systems, such as weather. Since March 2020, Miebach has been focusing on the integration of COVID-19 data into her translation work with weather data. The purpose of these 2D weavings, which are entirely made up of data, is to both document this extraordinary period of human history we are going through, while also commenting on how the abundance of scientific data can facilitate or complicate our sense of resilience during the face of these global threats.
Yu-Wen Wu is an interdisciplinary artist living and working in Boston. Born in Taipei, Taiwan, Wu’s subjectivity as an immigrant is central to her artwork. Arriving in the United States at an early age, her experiences have shaped her work in areas of migration—examining issues of displacement, arrival, assimilation, and the shape of identity in a new country. At the crossroads of art, science, politics, and social issues, her wide range of projects include large-scale drawings, site-specific video installations, community-engaged practices, and public art. Wu’s work has been exhibited nationally and internationally and is included in several private and public collections.
Join us for an introduction to Emilio's work and Q&A.
Broad’s Art and Science Connection invites you to an art talk with our 8th Artist-in-Residence, Emilio Vavarella. Emilio will introduce his work, discuss what drew him to the Broad, and then answer your questions.
This event is free and open to all Broadies in person, and open to the public online.
About the artist: Emilio Vavarella is an Italian artist working at the intersection of interdisciplinary art practice, theoretical research, and media experimentation. His work explores the relationship between subjectivity, nonhuman creativity, and technological power. It is informed by the history of conceptual art, digital and network cultures, and new media practices. Read more in his bio.
Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard hosted the in-person premiere of this meaningful, online, collaborative exhibit. The exhibit was installed at 415 Main Street in the second floor connector gallery, which is open to all Broadies. Questions? Contact Deborah Davidson.
Photo: Michaelann Ferro
Marking Lives COVID-19 is a community art project conceived by Concord-based artist Elizabeth Awalt to commemorate the American lives lost to COVID. This exhibition was a realization of the collaborative social media project. Artists were invited to make at least 1,000 “marks” on any surface in any medium, and then post a public photo of the work using the hashtag #markinglivescovid19. Inspired by projects like the AIDS Memorial Quilt, Awalt collected “marks” representing lives lost to COVID-19 in the United States. Marking Lives COVID-19 serves as a memorial to this tragic event in history.
Virtual Gallery Talk
Remembering Together: Marking Lives COVID-19
A virtual conversation and reflection on art, science, and loss
Presented by Catalyst Conversations and Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard
November 17, 2021, 1-2pm
Moderated by Deborah Davidson
A virtual conversation and reflection on art, science, and loss featuring Liz Awalt, Roby Bhattacharyya, and Benjamin Cooley.
Marking Lives COVID-19 founder and participating artist, Liz Awalt, Broad infectious disease researcher, Roby Bhattacharyya, and Broad visualization software engineer, Benjamin Cooley, discuss how they each continue to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic and the immense loss of lives in our nation and around the world. Their conversation was an opportunity for the three of them to share and reflect from both a scientific and artistic point of view. Underlying their respective practices is a spirit of generosity, a manifestation of our collective humanity, demonstrating how they contribute to that essential notion of who we are.
Liz Awalt says about her collective project: “when the numbers of COVID-19 deaths skyrocketed in December 2020, I was struggling to justify my painting practice amid the raging virus, divisive politics, and racial injustice in our country. I decided to respond by acting on an idea that broke through my sense of despair. This idea was clear and simple: make a painting with one thousand separate marks, where each mark represents and honors a life lost to COVID-19.”
Roby Bhattacharyya’s “lab aspires to be a kind, collaborative, and inclusive environment in which to pursue rigorous science that addresses important questions in infectious diseases. We value diversity of thought, experience, and therefore identity, and we believe that this diversity enriches the science we do, the questions we choose to ask, and the people we become.”
Benjamin Cooley wrote, early in the pandemic: “Data has been used as a means of warning, informing, and educating. To be sure, this is important work; but in reporting the pandemic data, we also need to reinforce the humanity of the data. These positive cases are entire lives uprooted. With rapidly evolving aggregated datasets such as case counts, deaths, hotspots, and hospitalizations, it can be easy to forget these stories and focus instead on precision.”
PRINTING THE RECORD: BROAD’S ARTIST-IN-RESIDENCE ON TURNING SCIENTIFIC DATA INTO ARTIST BOOKS
A virtual conversation with Ben Denzer on the intersection of art, science, and the book. Presented by the Broad Institute's Artist-in-Residence Program.
Ben Denzer, Broad’s artist-in-residence, spent a year exploring the Institute, speaking with scientists, and making large spiral bound artist books. In this talk Ben introduces the term “artist book,” shares the context around his body of work, and presents the titles published while in residence at the Broad. These books include 60,000 IMMORTAL INDIVIDUALS (a catalog of public information on individuals whose cells are “immortalized” in cell lines used for scientific research) and 12,000 SKIN CELLS (a set of three books each containing images of fibroblast cells from people with and without bipolar disorder and schizophrenia). Ben also shares images from ongoing projects, including a photographic catalog of every named machine at the Broad Institute.
Measure of the Moment: How we observe. How we Explore. Poetry and Science.
Women in Poetry and Science is a virtual panel discussion celebrating Women’s History Month, co-presented with Catalyst Conversations
March 25, 2021
Inspired by Amanda Gorman’s inaugural poem, in celebration of Women’s History Month (March), and in anticipation of National Poetry Month (April), Catalyst Conversations and Broad Institute’s Art and Science Connection presented this virtual discussion, bringing together poetry and science in conversation. The poets and Broad researchers explored how their respective work demonstrates their desire to make something that does not exist yet, something we want to see in the universe, a measure of a moment.
This event was presented concurrently with the exhibit, Poets for Science: Exploring the Connection between Science and Poetry.
Renowned poets Lillian-Yvonne Bertram and Crystal Williams joined Broad Institute researchers Diane Généreux and Bronwyn MacInnis.
Moderated by Deborah Davidson.
About the exhibit
Poets for Science: Exploring the Connection between Science and Poetry
March 20-May 8, 2021
415 Main, 2nd-floor connector
Poetry and science are both instruments of discovery and curiosity.
Broadies working onsite were invited to read the poems about science in this exhibit. Each poem was chosen with them in mind and shows the deep connection between science and poetry. Hopefully, these words inspired Broad’s researchers at the bench and beyond!
Poets for Science started on Earth Day, April 22, 2017, when demonstrators around the world participated in a March for Science in a call to support and safeguard the scientific community, fact-based decision making, basic research, and freedom of speech for scientists.
Learn more about Poets for Science at poetsforscience.org
Worlds of Marvel
Artists Michelle Samour and Maggie Stark create realms of wonder. They are masters of their respective craft, and use their materials to engage the viewer in ideas about permanence, transience, and the intersections between science, technology and the natural world.
“[My] need for understanding and control manifests itself in my artwork through the use of the grid as an organizational tool, through the building of structures that preserve and display objects, and through a visual mantra of repetition as a means of accumulating information.
My use of light and the suggestion of the lens—the physiological eye, a computer monitor, or a microscopic slide—becomes the means for seeing and examining this information.”
“The paradox of time simultaneously perceived as finite and material and infinite and permeable provides a conceptual framework for my work in video, sculpture and photography. Within this framework, I am exploring such divisions as motion and stasis, inside and outside, me and you. Integral to these works are light, sound, movement, and repetition. The pieces included in this exhibition were selected from three different bodies of work, Time Lock, Wall Play and Loop.”
Women in Art and Science: The Criticality of Hope
Virtual Panel Discussion
November 10, 2020
Co-presented with Catalyst Conversations
Inspired by Bina Venkataraman’s book, The Optimist’s Telescope; Thinking Ahead in a Reckless Age, the speakers explored the criticality of hope and optimism in our culture, and how practitioners in both the arts and sciences rely on hope in order to be forward-thinking in this current moment.
Moderated by Deborah Davidson
Presented concurrently with the art exhibit, Worlds of Marvel.
Celebrating Art and Science at the Broad Institute
November 2019 — February 2020
Gallery Talk: Celebrating Art and Science at the Broad Institute
January 14, 2020
As a complement to the exhibition Celebrating Art and Science at the Broad Institute, founding artist-in-residence Daniel Kohn and current artist-in-residence Lucy Kim discussed their respective Broad experiences with curator Deborah Davidson. Kohn’s fascination with worldviews and paradigm shifts made him want to explore genetics research first-hand. Kim began her residency by immersing herself in Broad science — attending program meetings, lectures, and scheduling many conversations with researchers from all corners of the Broad — before deciding to bring science more directly into her process.
After their conversation, they were joined by Gupi Ranganathan and Naoe Suzuki, two former artists-in-residence, in the exhibit space. The artists all shared how their time at the Broad Institute influenced the work they produced during and since their residencies.
Emily Eveleth: Results of Interpretation
July - September, 2019
Following the success of Gupi Ranganathan’s Cultured Interactions exhibit, the second floor connector was once again transformed into a temporary gallery, this time featuring the work of painter Emily Eveleth. Davidson and Eveleth presented a public talk and reception on September 11, 2019.
Emily Eveleth became fascinated with how artists and scientists generate ideas and sort through data while sharing ideas with then–Broad research fellow David Tester in a 2015 public talk at the Broad Institute, which rekindled her interest in the visual representations of spheres and in the history of mathematics and mapping. Results of Interpretation included paintings, drawings, and compositional explorations, sheets of drawings resembling story boards, a kind of formative research that usually never leaves the studio. These records of “thinking out loud” examine our complex relationship with the world and how we express it, with forms we use to find our place (the globe), to predict the future (the crystal ball, the magic eight ball), and to conjure forces (the sphere of a Van de Graaff generator).
The exhibit’s title is a play on a scientific phrase “interpretation of results.” By interpreting data and reporting on their findings, researchers increase our understanding, solve problems, and put us on a path to new treatments for disease. Switching the order of the words introduces the idea that a painting can have many interpretations. The inherent subject matter is not necessarily what is visible, and the end results can remain open-ended and mysterious.
Women in Art and Science, Seekers All
March 14, 2019
Presented by Women@Broad and the Broad Artist-in-Residence Program in partnership with Catalyst Conversations.
Image by Lucy Kim "Dr. Melissa Doft, Plastic Surgeon 1" Oil paint, acrylic paint, urethane resin, epoxy, fiberglass, wood framing 92 x 60 in, 2016
Photo credit: Tony Luong
This public conversation featured female leaders sharing how their own thinking and projects are influenced by the intersection of art and science.
Deborah Davidson, Catalyst Conversations
Cultured Interactions: Art, Science and Broad
November 2018 — March 2019
Presented by the Broad Artist-in-Residence Program
Former Broad Institute artist in residence Guhapriya (Gupi) Ranganathan transformed the second floor connector into a temporary gallery and installed key artworks that represent her evolution during twelve years of interactions with Broadies. On Friday, November 16, 2018 she presented a public talk, in which she described the impact of these interactions on the artworks in the installation and on her work more generally.
Cultured Interactions: Art, Science and Broad, featured artworks that represent Gupi’s creative journey from prior to her appointment as artist in residence, through her residency, and through the installation of artwork on the ninth floor of 75 Ames, Cultured Interactions: Evolving Landscape, commissioned by the Stanley Center. The artworks represent her journey and provided a visual context for her November 16 artist talk.
Material drawing: exploration and connectivity
May 8, 2018
How do intention, surprise, and the senses come into play in a 21st-century art and science? How can we balance intentionality with the inherent openness of discovery?
Internationally active installation artist and recent Facebook Boston artist-in-residence Debra Weisberg shared a lecture and discussion, "Material drawing: exploration and connectivity.” Weisberg introduced her work and her physical, improvisational approach, followed by an informal dialogue investigating questions like:
- How does the experience of working directly with mutable materials impact creative and flexible decision-making?
- What is the impact of omitting physical experience from our learning process?
Debra Weisberg is an installation artist who counts among her awards two residencies at the MacDowell Colony and a Massachusetts Cultural Council fellowship in drawing. She created a 22-foot tape installation for Facebook Boston's corporate office in Cambridge (2017). Her 40-foot high installation at the DeCordova Museum, (Sub) Surface, won an award for best museum installation (2003) from the Boston Art Critics Association.
Finding Heaven Under Our Feet: Making Modern Dance
October 10, 2017
A film screening and panel discussion exploring the potential of art to address social challenges such as climate change. Presented in collaboration with HUBweek 2017.
Where do art, politics and subversive acts collide?
Finding Heaven Under Our Feet: Making Modern Dance, a feature-length documentary by filmmaker Chris Engles, is a journey through time. The subject of the film, choreographer and dance historian Dr. Jody Weber, describes the roots of modern dance in the expressive dance movement of 19th century Boston, illustrating the art form’s ties to the early 20th century women's rights movement. Seeing herself as an heir to these early innovators, Weber works with her Somerville-based dance company to address the elusive nature of the genre through community engagement, audience education and the ability of artists to use their work to tackle social and cultural issues, such as climate change and our relationship with the planet.
The film screening was followed by a panel discussion with the filmmaker, Chris Engles, choreographer Jody Weber and Broad senior science policy advisor, Bina Venkataraman, and was moderated by WBUR’s Lisa Mullens.
Collaborating at the Intersection of Art and Science
September 27, 2016
Presented by Catalyst Conversations and the Broad Institute as part of HUBweek 2016
Deborah Davidson, founder of Catalyst Conversations
Todd Golub, founding core member, chief scientific officer, and director of the Cancer Program at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard; professor of Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School; Charles A. Dana Investigator in Human Cancer Genetics at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute; investigator at Howard Hughes Medical Institute
Naoe Suzuki, artist in residence at Broad Institute
In a fascinating conversation between Broad Institute founding core member, Todd Golub, and artist-in-residence Naoe Suzuki, they explored ideation as a collaborative effort and the potential to enhance both the art and research.
ARCHEMY: a Chromatographics workshop
August 25, 2016
Dan Jay, Ph.D., Professor of Developmental, Molecular and Chemical Biology, Tufts University
Artist and scientist, Dan Jay described how he uses chromatography, a technique usually used for nucleic acid or protein purification, to make color abstractions. Participants were provided the opportunity to make their own sketches and process them in the laboratory. This activity challenged Broadies to think about a familiar technique in a different way. While the sketches were in the chromatography tanks, Broadies gathered for an informal reception and continued the conversation around the artwork, which, when processed, was installed in a temporary exhibit.
Catalyst Conversations: On Beauty
Emily Eveleth, painter
David Tester, senior software engineer, Google; visiting scientist, Broad Institute
The notion of beauty invokes awe, pleasure, aspiration; we are taken outside of ourselves and returned. Painter Emily Eveleth and Senior Software Engineer David Tester, explored the idea of beauty and how it resonates and overlaps in both of their worlds.