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01 Dec 2008

MIT Visual Arts Program Fall Exhibition

Collage by Amber Frid-Jimenez

X-topia and Y-topia


Monday, December 8
7:00–9:00 PM

Exhibition Hours:
Tuesday, December 9 through
Thursday, December 11
Noon–5:00 PM

+1 (617) 253-5229

MIT Visual Arts Program
265 Massachusetts Avenue
Building N52, Third Floor,
adjacent to the MIT Museum
Cambridge, MA 02139

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Graduate students from MIT's Department of Architecture display their investigations and the way these terms are represented in visual, audio and literary media. Following the principles of heterotopian spaces the way the French philosopher Michel Foucault defines them in his 1967 lecture 'Of Other Spaces', this project seeks to delineate the complexity of fictional narratives, virtual designs and existing realities. X-topia is a spatial collage where the viewer is invited to enter and to wander through islands of excerpts and citations, illuminated by film fragments and surrounded by sound bites. The elements of this exhibition – juxtaposed quotations gathered into a spatial narration offset by montages of film and documentary footage – portray the interrelation of these urban imaginaries from the 20th century. X-topia questions the overarching social constructs that lead to the pursuit of the utopian ideal society by mirroring it through its inherent dystopian aspects and conclusions.

X-topia is an exhibition project of student participants in MIT's Visual Arts Program course 'This is Tomorrow? Urban Utopia, Dystopia, Heterotopia,' taught by Ute Meta Bauer and Yvonne P. Doderer. The course was inspired by 'This is Tomorrow,' a ground breaking, trans-disciplinary exhibition by the Independent Group at London's Whitechapel Art Gallery in 1956. X-topia is the result of reviewing and reflecting on selected texts and a wide range of 20th century fiction and documentary films supplemented by a weekly transdisciplinary lecture series with guest speakers from all over the world. Students were assisted by Mary Hale and Morgan Pinney.

Contributions by Gabriel Chan, Lee M. Dykxhoorn, Adam B. Galletly, Mishayla T. Greist, Natsuki Maeda, Robert J. Mastro, Timothy R. Olson, Lisa M. Pauli, Mais M. Sartawi, Gerhard J. Van Der Linde.


Students of 'Radical Networks, Tactics, Breakdowns,' taught at the MIT Visual Arts Program by Amber Frid-Jimenez, will present research projects on participatory online and mobile platforms that explores how computational media has altered communication and collective action. Revisiting notions of utopia, dystopia and heterotopia in twentieth century urban theory and art practice, the work explores the utopian assumptions implied by a teleological approach of technological innovation. Students were assisted by Jaekyung Jung and Doug Fritz.

Contributions by Yannick Assogba, Sam Kronick, Jason Rockwood, Richard The, Jeffrey Warren, Jess Wheelock.


X-topia is generously funded in part by the Council for the Arts at MIT. Also thanks to Barbara Barry, Susan Cohen, Jim Harrington and Ed Halligan.

About Us

The MIT Visual Arts Program offers a two-year Masters of Science in Visual Studies (SMVisS). The program is focused on the development of artistic practices that challenge traditional genres and the limits of the gallery/museum context. The program is part of the Department of Architecture at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.