Sensorium: Part I – Embodied Experience, Technology, and Contemporary Art

Installation view of a room inside a crate lit with red lights featuring cluttered albums and decorations.

Janet Cardiff and George Bures Miller, Opera for a Small Room, 2005, 20 minute loop; mixed media with sound and synchronized lighting. Courtesy of the artists and Galerie Barbara Weiss, Luhring Augustine Gallery

Featured Artists
Mathieu Briand
Janet Cardiff
Ryoji Ikeda
George Bures Miller
Bruce Nauman
Sissel Tolaas
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This two-part exhibition (Sensorium Part I and Part II), organized by the MIT List Visual Arts Center, explores various ways in which artists address the influence of technology on the senses.

The impact of new technology has reshuffled the established hierarchy of the senses and radically changed people's lives. The art in Sensorium captures the aesthetic attitude of this hybrid moment when modernist segmentation of the senses is giving way to dramatic multi-sensory mixes or transpositions. The artists in this exhibition respond and question the implications of this significant epochal shift.

Sensorium: Part I begins with an environment by French artist Mathieu Briand that is based on the film 2001: A Space Odyssey.

A nearly empty room presented by the Berlin-based, Norwegian artist Sissel Tolaas is infused with microencapsulated scents, created with sophisticated scent-reproduction technologies. As viewers rub the walls to release the smell, they will leave behind a visible record of their visit.

Japanese sound artist and composer Ryoji Ikeda' s installation, Spectra II, uses random strobe lights and a pure architectonic sound to create a powerful, disturbing synesthetic effect as viewers move toward an alluring laser target. Spectra II was produced by Forma.

Bruce Nauman 's Office Edit is a single-channel work from the artist's Mapping the Studio project that uses infrared technology to investigate the space of the artist's studio.

Canadians Janet Cardiff and George Bures Miller present Opera for a Small Room for the first time in North America. Their installation is an elaborate theatrical fiction based on a found stack of opera records in Salmon Arm, British Columbia.

Sensorium: Part II will feature work by Mathieu Briand, Natascha Sadr Haghighian, Christian Jankowski, François Roche and R&Sie (n), and Anri Sala.


Support for this exhibition has been provided by: the National Endowment for the Arts, a Federal agency; Nimoy Foundation; Etant donnés: The French American Fund for Contemporary Art; the LEF Foundation; Martin E. Zimmerman; the Japan Foundation; Cultural Services of the French Embassy; Taipei Museum of Contemporary Art; Council for the Arts at MIT; Office for Contemporary Art Norway; the American-Scandinavian Foundation; the Royal Norwegian Consulate General; Canadian Consulate General in Boston; and the Massachusetts Cultural Council.