The Production of Space: New Models and Modeling as Practice
Academic course and exhibition-event
MIT Architecture/ Art, Culture + Technology
Role: Teaching Assistant and Exhibition Manager
Professor: Gediminas Urbonas
Research Assistant: Zenovia Toloudi

New Models and Modeling as Practice, led by Gediminas Urbonas of MIT Architecture/ Art, Culture + Technology in Fall 2012, introduced historical and contemporary spatial concepts for various cultures and geo-political settings, and examined how they relate to artistic process and production. The studio focused on modeling as way of thinking in the arts, architecture and science, and explored rational qualities of spatial concepts, relations between the model, its viewer and author, and reflected on their producers and proponents. Beginning with models in art and science and working with partners from several institutions including the MIT Museum, we explored rationality and judgment of scale, historical models, politics of the material, paradox, meanings of abstraction and realism, and appropriate communication models. Students introduced modeling practices (and models of practice) from their respective disciplines and developed and expanded their own practice and capabilities through interdisciplinary discourse.

The class worked alongside plans for an exhibition on models in science and art at the MIT Museum to travel to the Swiss Design Museum in Zurich. Through accumulating models of different registers of knowledge processes, the space of the classroom itself was to transform to become a model “for” and “of” the pedagogy. Screenings, visits from contemporary artists and scientists, readings and in-class presentations supported the development of individual and collective projects. Visitors and partners in dialogue included: Gary van Zante (curator at MIT Museum), Florian Dombois (artist and curator in Zurich ZHDK), Nader Tehrani (architect; MIT), MIT Edgerton Lab, MIT Museum Studio. This class worked in cooperation and exchange with the MIT Museum and students from the model group of Research Focus Transdisciplinarity at Zurich University of the Arts in Switzerland.

The course was later added to the MIT Open Courseware platform.