PLAN 80: Article
Witnessing Artists At Work

A Creative Collaboration for the Benefit of Students

Eminent artist Joan Jonas, Professor Emerita in SA+P’s Program in Art, Culture and Technology, collaborated this fall on a new performance piece with jazz pianist Jason Moran, a 2010 MacArthur Fellow hailed by critics as ‘the future of jazz’. The new piece, Reanimation – an improvisation of music, sound, movement and video – was debuted to a sold out MIT audience in September.

The performance was the first event of this year’s Visiting Artists Program, organized by MIT’s Office of the Arts to bring nationally and internationally recognized artists to campus for stays of several days to several weeks, engaging with the community through master classes, lecture-demonstrations, performances, workshops and conversations. During Moran’s residency, students were also given access to an open rehearsal of Reanimation as well as a screening of the documentary In My Mind, Moran’s multimedia tribute to Thelonious Monk.

Moran has received wide acclaim for his recordings on Blue Note Records, often performing with his ensemble The Big Bandwagon. His 1999 debut recording, Soundtrack to Human Motion, was christened Best Album of the Year by Ben Ratliff of the New York Times and his music is in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art and the Whitney Museum of American Art.

Over the course of four decades, Jonas has established herself as a pioneering force in contemporary art, working in genres ranging from performance and video to conceptual art and theater, a field of work that also includes drawing, film, installation, sculpture and photography.

Frequent collaborators with other artists and musicians, Jonas and Moran have worked together on several of Jonas’ projects including The Shape, The Scent, The Feel of Things and My New Theater: Reading Dante III, a version of which was on view this fall in the first floor gallery of the new Media Lab Complex.

In addition to Moran, MIT’s Visiting Artists Program this fall includes multimedia artist Trevor Paglen; The Ascoli Ensemble, a research-based vocal ensemble dedicated to medieval music; theater director/producer Robert Wilson; new music ensemble Bang on a Can; and artist and composer Florian Hecker.

Jason Moran’s residency was made possible by SA+P’s Program in Art, Culture and Technology in collaboration with MIT’s Visiting Artist Program and the Department of Music and Theater Arts.