This talk brings together artists Kim Albrecht, Matthew Battles, Rachel Kalmar & Sarah Newman, Maia Leandra Suazo-Maler, and Jonathan Sun from metaLAB’s August 2017 exhibition Machine Experience at Harvard Art Museum.

The possibilities of AI long seemed futuristic and far-fetched. Now, however, the impact of AI technology is felt in every aspect of public and private life, with results ranging from the delightful to the disturbing. At the same time, discourse about these advances is mostly limited to experts, leaving the broader public outside the conversation. metaLAB’s current focus on Art + AI brings to life questions about the social and ethical implications of AI technologies. This work is explored through teaching, workshops, research, and exhibitions.


Kim Albrecht is a visual researcher and information designer, interested in networks, power, the artificial and how we can find visual representations for these topics to produce and represent knowledge. Kim holds a BA in graphic design from the AAA school and an MA in interface design from the University of Applied Sciences Potsdam. From 2015 to 2017 Kim worked at the Center for Complex Network Research with Prof. Laszlo Barabasi as a visualization researcher in Boston. His research focused on the area of finding visual representations of complex systems and particularly complex networks. In 2016 Kim started his Ph.D. research at the University of Potsdam in the field of media theory. Researching information visualizations and their interfaces regarding their epistemological value and how they help us to make sense of the world. In 2017 Kim joined metaLAB at Harvard University to research the intersection between artificial intelligence and culture as well as finding new representations of cultural collections.

Matthew Battles is a maker and thinker whose work merges literary, scholarly, and artistic forms of inquiry. His writing on the cultural dimensions of science and technology appears such venues as The American Scholar, The Atlantic, Harper’s Magazine, and The New York Times. His most recent book, TREE, was published by Bloomsbury in 2017. At metaLAB, Matthew advances an agenda of creative research exploring the dark abundance of collections in libraries and museums; technology’s impact on our experience of art, culture, and the natural world; and the conditions of culture and experience in the context of deep time. This work takes varied form in writing, video, and multimedia installation, in works like A Bit in the Abyss(with metaLAB), a multimedia architectural installation for Boston’s 2015 Illuminus festival; and Your Story Has Touched My Heart (with Sarah Newman, 2016), an appropriation piece exploring memory and mystery in photo archives.

Rachel Kalmar is a data scientist, Berkman Klein Fellow, and world record holder for number of wearable sensors worn continuously. Wrangling noisy data, she investigates how to make wearable and sensor data useful and interactive. A Stanford neuroscience PhD, Rachel has spent over a decade using data to explain, predict and influence behavior. Rachel focuses on the application of data and the broader ecosystems within which it exists. What are barriers to data access, sharing and interoperability, and how can we enable more open data ecosystems to better serve the public interest? Rachel is an alumna of Stanford’s Neurosciences Program, the Hasso Plattner Institute for Design (aka the, UCSD Physics, The Salk Institute, Singularity University, Rock Health, and Misfit Wearables.

Maia Leandra Suazo-Male is a junior at Harvard College studying the History of Art & Architecture and Computer Science. A lover of color and a mild synesthete, she owes her newfound curiosity about “colorstrology” to her mother’s affinity for numerology and openness to alternative healing mechanisms. On campus, Maia is a research assistant at metaLAB and spends most of her time photographing, innovating, and frolicking to and from different cafes. Maia Leandra can be found on Instagram on her personal account @maialeandra as well as her blog @modandbean, and can be reached via email at

Sarah Newman is a Creative Researcher at metaLAB at Harvard, and a Fellow at the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society. Working primarily in the areas of installation art and photography, she develops projects that deal with technology’s role in culture, examining the significance of the current moment both playfully and critically. Newman holds a BA in Philosophy from Washington University in St. Louis and an MFA in Imaging Arts from the Rochester Institute of Technology; she has exhibited work in New York, San Francisco, Miami, Chicago, Berlin, and Rome, and has held artist residencies in Germany and Sweden. Her current work explores the social and philosophical dimensions of artificial intelligence, the curious intersections of the human and the nonhuman, and using art as a means of engagement, education, and critique.

Jonathan Sun is the author behind @jonnysun and the book “everyone’s a aliebn when ur a aliebn too” (HarperPerennial, 2017). When he isn’t tweeting, he is a designer, engineer, artist, playwright and comedy writer. He is currently a doctoral student at MIT, an affiliate of the Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society at Harvard, and a creative researcher at the Harvard metaLAB, where he studies AI, social media and online community. As a playwright, Jonathan’s work has been performed at the Yale School of Drama, Factory Theater, Hart House Theater, Theater Lab, and the University of Toronto. As an artist and illustrator, his work has been commissioned by the New Haven ArtSpace, and exhibited at MIT, Harvard Art Museum, the Yale School of Architecture, and the University of Toronto. He is the creator of @tinycarebot and the co-creator of the MIT Humor Series. His work has been profiled in the New York Times and on NPR, and has appeared in TIME Magazine, BuzzFeed, Playboy, GQ, and McSweeney’s. In 2017, he was named by TIME Magazine as one of the 25 Most Influential People on the Internet.


MIT Open Documentary Lab E15-318

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