Friday, February 23, 2007

Marisa Jahn

Artist Marisa Jahn gave a talk at the MIT Media Lab, in the Tangible Media Group.

Her work explores ways to engage people in gaining knowledge, from literacy, to environmental literacy. She designed tools and methods to invite people in a comparative analysis of information and self-reflective process. She collaborates frequently with Steve Shada and Natalie Jeremijenko.

Interested in how human interact and communicate with each others, she designed wearable musical instruments.

For her master thesis in the visual studies department at MIT, she designed a game called Set. Elements of the set can be regrouped, labeled and organized and shared within the players.

Project most easily understood through direct engagement, boxSET is a game played as an intervention into any existing collection of objects (archives, record albums, a heap of junk—anything). Involving multiple players, some of whom may not have any prior relationship with the objects to be sorted, the game asks players to develop categories that describes a grouping of objects. However, the creation of order occurs simultaneous with disorder: a player may choose to remove an object from another player's collection in order to place it in his/her grouping. This rapid taxonomic metabolism encourages players to narrate out loud (or 'show-and-tell') their categories with the anticipation that it may soon disappear. Further, through taxonomically engaging with different kinds of objects, players become aware of what kinds of objects (data) are better for certain kinds of analyses (formal, textual, psychoanalytic, etc.). As the game evolves, players become aware of the difference in interpretation, the subjectivity of order, and the contingent production of knowledge.

She created throw-n-Sow a new way for people to think about and engage with their environment. Frisbees deposite seeds while in the air...

Throw-n-Sow is a flying disc toy similar to a Frisbee that uses the centripetal force generated in the act of throwing to distribute seeds into the environment. Manufactured as a toy made from environmentally-friendly, biodegradable plastics, Throw-n-Sow consists of a main body and a separate container that slides and locks under the disc. This container contains adjustable holes of different diameter to accommodate variant seed sizes. In other words, Throw-n-Sow is a literally empty container into which individuals and communities emplace selected seeds.
Throw-n-Sow is interactive eco-art project that engages diverse communities in each step of the project (manufacturing, seed-selection, site-selection, plant stewardship, art education), Throw-n-Sow raises questions about the expanded field of drawing, indigenous ecologies vs. selective human cultivation, landscape evolution and succession, ethnobotany, agronomy, etc. Throw-n-Sow ultimately aims to valorize distributive intelligence and interdisciplinary learning.
Throw-n-Sow is the kind of art that literally passes between two or more individuals. Leaving behind a trail of seeds as it sails through the air, Throw-n-Sow essentially imprints moments of play into the landscape. Individuals carrying the Throw-n-Sow disc from one place to another develop an affective relationship to the toy and to the sites in which it is deployed.

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