On Tuesday, Feb 21 at 12pm, Harvard metaLAB’s Sarah Newman, Jessica Yurkofsky and Matthew Battles will visit Open Documentary Lab to present their project TRUST (the presence of secrets). This event is open to public.

TRUST (the presence of secrets)

What are the personal, cultural, and political implications of digital correspondence? Into whose hands might our secrets fall?

TRUST (the presence of secrets) is an interactive installation designed by Sarah Newman and Jessica Yurkofsky from metaLAB at Harvard. The installation considers what might happen to our digital correspondence – now, and in the future. The piece was first installed as part of the mfaNOW series at the Museum of Fine Arts Boston in the Fall of 2016. Drawing on themes of privacy, identity, surveillance, chance, “truth”, and the distributed self, the installation playfully and provocatively raises questions about cultural norms, individual identity, and uncertain futures.

metaLAB at Harvard is an idea foundry, knowledge-design lab, and production studio dedicated to innovation and experimentation in the networked arts and humanities. In addition to discussing TRUST, we’ll also present an overview of some other metaLAB projects.

Sarah Newman is a Creative Researcher at metaLAB at Harvard, and a Fellow at the Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society. Working primarily in the area of photography, she puts appropriation, collaboration, and whimsy to work in discovering spaces that fuse physical, virtual, and imaginary worlds. 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 shown work in New York, San Francisco, Miami, Chicago, and Washington DC, and has held artist residencies in Germany and Sweden. Previous projects engage the human-altered landscape, the contextual understanding of self, memory, water, and secrets. Her work at metaLAB explores the dark abundance of archives, the feral intersections of the human and the nonhuman, and unveiling the hidden lives of objects.

Jessica Yurkofsky is a designer with roots in ethnography, computer science, and place-making, and is a Creative Technologist at metaLAB at Harvard. Yurkofsky holds a BA in Sociology from Stanford University and a Masters in Urban Planning from Harvard’s Graduate School of Design. Her graduate work focused on seniors’ use of social media as a means of accessing dispersed social spaces and community. Yurkofsky’s interests include creative hacks, building things, and design interventions in community spaces, particularly libraries. She has been part of the teaching team of LABRARY and Library Test Kitchen; she is also the lead designer on Curricle, a new course selection and visualization tool that maps the evolution of Harvard’s curriculum.

Matthew Battles is a maker and thinker whose work merges literary, scholarly, and artistic forms of inquiry. He is associate director at metaLAB, where he advances an agenda of creative research exploring the dark abundance of object in libraries, museums, and landscapes; 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. His writing on the cultural dimensions of science and technology appears such venues as The American ScholarThe AtlanticHarper’s Magazine, and The New York Times. His most recent book, Tree, will appear in the Object Lessons series of Bloomsbury Press in March 2017.


MIT Open Documentary Lab E15-318

20 Ames Street 3rd Floor

Cambridge, MA