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SA+P Press

The Center for Advanced Visual Studies and the Evolution of Art-Science-Technology at MIT

In 1967, in a time of student unrest, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology did the unexpected: it established the first academic center for research and collaboration in art, science, and technology. The Center for Advanced Visual Studies (CAVS) brought artists to the MIT campus with radical expressions of a rapidly evolving technological era.

“Public space” is a potent and contentious topic among artists, architects, and cultural producers. Public Space? Lost and Found considers the role of aesthetic practices within the construction, identification, and critique of shared territories, and how artists or architects—the “antennae of the race”—can heighten our awareness of rapidly changing formulations of public space in the age of digital media, vast ecological crises, and civic uprisings.

Bosworth's New Tech

At the end of the nineteenth century, MIT occupied an assortment of laboratories, classrooms, offices, and student facilities scattered across Boston’s Back Bay. In 1912, backed by some of the country’s leading financiers and industrialists, MIT officials purchased an undeveloped tract of land in Cambridge. Largely on the basis of a recommendation from John D. Rockefeller, Jr., MIT hired the École des Beaux-Arts–trained architect William Welles Bosworth to build and design a new campus.