2021 Max Wasserman Forum on Contemporary Art: Another World

April 6 - 10, 2021
Event Types
Talk / Lecture

The 2021 Max Wasserman Forum: Another World brings together artists, educators, and writers at the forefront of discourses on art in the digital realm to share their deep understandings and perspectives on digital media’s potential for more radical, imaginative, and limitless forms of cyber expressions. A series of two pre-recorded online panel discussions What are we Building?, and What are the Barriers?, will address questions such as: How do digital ecosystems shape our behaviors, values, and relationships? What strategies are employed by artists to bridge speculative ideas and in real life encounters? What are the extended or alternative experiences provided by artists that affect human consciousness? The Forum culminates with a captioned live stream closing address by Berlin-based filmmaker and visual artist Hito Steyerl on April 10.

Pre-recorded panel discussions will be made available online April 6-10, 2021.

Live Stream Closing Address with Hito Steyerl: Decolonize the Digital Sphere and Transition it Towards the Commons on Saturday, April 10, 2021 at 3 PM EST.

Panel discussions will be closed captioned and a live transcription of the closing address will be provided with webcast.

Download the Press Release

Program Schedule

Session 1: What are we Building?

What does another world look like in a time when we are all thrust into a space of rethinking, remaking, and reimagining? Speculative provocations become easier to believe if rooted in real life possibilities. Embedded in the constructs of the digital realm, there is a greater sense of freedom to visualize speculative thinking for viewers. These panelists are extraordinarily creating visual systems that reinvent and propose alternative approaches to a standardized (or defaulted) way of living. This discussion will reveal proposals of human evolution as we leave the structures of our built environment and reconsider the possibilities available to manage anonymity. What do we want to embrace? What new models are we building? How does what we are building shape how communities are being defined and organized? How do we bridge imagined thinking into the world of now?


Salome Asega is an artist and researcher based in Brooklyn, NY. She is currently a Technology Fellow in the Ford Foundation’s Creativity and Free Expression program area.

Rindon Johnson is an artist and writer who lives in Berlin. His most recent virtual reality film, Meat Growers: A Love Story, was commissioned by Rhizome and Tentacular.

Lawrence Lek is a London-based artist, filmmaker, and musician working in the fields of virtual reality and simulation.


Eunsong Kim is an arts writer, poet and translator. She teaches critical race & ethnic studies at Northeastern University.

Session 2: What are the Barriers?

As diffuse and capacious as the concept of digital space remains, it is often defined in opposition to spaces and exchanges in real life (IRL) making distinctions between online and offline living extremely fluid. How porous are these boundaries as the merging of human and artificial experience by choice or necessity become more commonly embraced? Today as in person social interactions are curtailed and we have become more reliant on online forms of exchange and communication, we have become more aware of the ways the digital reflects and in some cases expands issues of access IRL. Limitations of digital forms, inequity to access, and the limitations set by institutional frameworks will formulate this discussion. These panelists will convene together to consider societal, cultural, institutional and cognitive barriers that form our digital behaviors and inform our digital spaces. What are the barriers, what are the rules that we are abiding by and why do we continue to do so? How do these barriers shape how we interact with one another? This session brings together artists that challenge and critically reflect on creative strategies utilized to push the boundaries to inform another world of possibilities. 


American Artist is an artist based in New York. Their work considers black labor and visibility within networked life.

Lauren Lee McCarthy (she/they) is a Los Angeles-based artist examining social relationships in the midst of surveillance, automation, and algorithmic living.


Gloria Sutton is Associate Professor of Contemporary Art History at Northeastern University and is affiliated faculty with Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies.

Decolonize the Digital Sphere and Transition it Towards the Commons

Live Stream Closing Address with Hito Steyerl
April 10, 3 PM EST

Hito Steyerl (born 1966 in Munich, Germany) is a filmmaker, visual artist, writer, and innovator of the essay documentary. 

Steyerl’s prolific filmmaking and writing occupies a highly discursive position between the fields of art, philosophy and politics, constituting a deep exploration of late capitalism’s social, cultural and financial imaginaries. Her films and lectures have increasingly addressed the presentational context of art, while her writing has circulated widely through publication in both academic and art journals, often online.

About the Max Wasserman Forum on Contemporary Art

The Max Wasserman Forum on Contemporary Art was established in memory of Max Wasserman (MIT Class of 1935), a founding member of the Council for the Arts at MIT. This public forum was endowed through the generosity of the late Jeanne Wasserman and addresses critical issues in contemporary art and culture through the participation of renowned scholars, artists, and arts professionals. The Forum is organized and presented by the MIT List Visual Arts Center.