Shifter: Waiting | Matthew Metzger and Jane Norris

January 28, 2021
Event Types
Talk / Lecture

Matthew Metzger

Jane Norris


This online series will use Zoom with live closed-captioning.

For more information, contact:

Emily Garner eagarner [at] (eagarner[at]mit[dot]edu)

A businessperson waits for a delayed subway. A wrongly convicted prisoner awaits justice. A refugee waits for their asylum case. A nation waits for the promised boon of economic development. The world waits for a vaccine. Nature waits for its exploitation to end. 

Waiting is usually what we do between things. It is the space between two destinations, an empty and anxious time to fill with distractions. But when we look more closely, we see that waiting is also an activity in itself, bristling with energy, uncertainty, and inequality. What does the condition of waiting reveal about us, our world, and the natural environment that sustains it? 

This series of eight sessions offer glimpses into the thought and practices of artists, architects, historians, and theorists who grapple with this question. 

In this hour-long session, Matthew Metzger will speak about soprano saxophonist Steve Lacy’s use of pausing in his solo playing, where waiting becomes rhythm and silence is bound up with critique and anticipation. Jane Norris presents recordings of the electronic pulses of plants, and asks if they are waiting for our resonances to align or for us to hear them. A brief moderated discussion and audience Q&A will follow. 

These events, and the resulting publication, Shifter 25: Waiting, are co-hosted by MIT List Visual Arts Center and Contemporary Arts Center, Cincinnati in conjunction with solo exhibitions by Sreshta Rit Premnath to be held in March 2021 (MIT List Center) and October 2021 (CAC).

About the Speakers

Matthew Metzger is an artist and educator in Chicago. He received his MFA from The University of Chicago and attended the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture Residency Program both in 2009. Metzger is Associate Professor of Studio Art at The University of Illinois at Chicago. His most recent solo exhibitions include Regards, Chicago; Corbett vs. Dempsey, Chicago; and Arratia Beer, Berlin. Recent and forthcoming group exhibitions include Retrograde, Logan Center Exhibitions, Chicago; The Freedom Principle, Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago and Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia; and The Works, CAB Art Center, Brussels.

Jane Norris is Associate Dean at Richmond University in London. She has a cross disciplinary background in Speculative Material Design, Critical Writing and Digital Media. Before joining Richmond University, she led a BA Hons in 3D Design Craft for ten years. She recently undertook post-doctoral research in Critical Writing at the Royal College of Art. She is currently writing a book: Listening to Materials – re-thinking our relationship with matter which investigates posthuman approaches to making and digital theories of crumpled time. Jane also writes material fiction short stories published in near future fiction anthologies. She has exhibited at The Commonwealth Institute; East London Design Show; 152 Gallery Whitechapel open; Onedotzero – ICA, Triangle Gallery Chelsea college of Art, The People’s Place Glasgow, Watershed Media Centre Bristol. She has also shown work internationally at: Le Forum, United Nations, Geneva, RaMoMa – for the inaugural opening of the new Museum of Modern Art in Nairobi Kenya.

About Shifter

Shifter explores the intersection of contemporary art, theory, and experimental writing. They convene public dialogues and produce publications. Shifter is programmed by Sreshta Rit Premnath and Avi Alpert.