The Experimental Museum is a traveling hybrid conversation series fostering an exchange of ideas between innovative museums across Switzerland, the US, and the world, with a focus on interactive museum environments and novel interfaces between museums and their cities. In this first edition of the series, streamed live from the MIT Museum in Cambridge, the directors of the MIT Museum, EPFL Pavilions, and the House of Electronic Arts present recent experiments in museum practice – three short bites of inspiration to seed new thinking on the role of museums in today’s and tomorrow’s world.
- 12:30pm – Public event starts
- 12:31pm – Introductions, Swissnex and MIT Museum
- 12:33pm – John Durant, MIT Museum
- 12:38pm – Sarah Kenderdine, EPFL Pavilions
- 12:43pm – Sabine Himmelsbach, House of Electronic Arts
- 12:48pm – Q&A
- 1:00pm – Public event end
- 1:05pm – Private workshop begins
- 2:30pm – Private workshop ends
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Event start time
Sarah KenderdineDirector, Laboratory for Experimental Museology, EPFL; Director and Lead Curator, EPFL Pavilions, Lausanne, Switzerland
Professor Sarah Kenderdine leads a team of software engineers, artists, and curators, at the forefront of interactive and immersive experiences for galleries, libraries, archives and museums. In widely exhibited installation works, she has amalgamated tangible and intangible cultural heritage with new media art practice, especially in the realms of interactive cinema, augmented reality and embodied narrative. Sarah has produced 90 exhibitions and installations for museums worldwide. In 2017, Sarah was appointed professor at the École Polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), Switzerland where she has built the Laboratory for Experimental Museology (eM+), exploring the convergence of imaging technologies, immersive visualisation, digital aesthetics and cultural and scientific (big) data. She has raised nearly CHF 12 mio in competitive grant funding and donations since arriving in Switzerland. Since 2017, Sarah has taken the first directorship and is lead curator of EPFL Pavilions, a new art/science initiative housed in a seminal Kengo Kumar building. Located at the heart of a vibrant international university and elite engineering school, EPFL Pavilions is an amplifier for art, science and society, a meeting place for all disciplines. Reaching beyond object-oriented curation, EPFL Pavilions blends experimental curatorship and contemporary aesthetics with open science, digital humanism and emerging technologies.
John DurantDirector, MIT Museum, Cambridge, Massachusetts
John Durant received his BA in Natural Sciences from Queens’ College, Cambridge in 1972 and went on to take a PhD in History and Philosophy of Science, also at Cambridge, in 1977. After more than a decade in University Continuing Education (first, at the University of Swansea in Wales, and then at the University of Oxford), in 1989 he was appointed Assistant Director and Head of Science Communication at the Science Museum, London and Professor of Public Understanding of Science at Imperial College, London. In 2000, he was appointed Chief Executive of At-Bristol, a new independent science centre in the West of England. He came to MIT in July 2005, to take up a joint appointment as an Adjunct Professor in the STS Program and Director of the MIT Museum. His earlier research was in the history of evolutionary and behavioral biology, with special reference to debates about animal nature and human nature in the late-19th and 20th centuries. More recently, however, he has undertaken sociological research on the public dimensions of science and technology. He is especially interested in public perceptions of the life sciences and biotechnology, in the role of public consultation in science and technology policy-making, and in the role of informal media (especially museums) in facilitating public engagement with science and technology. He is the founder editor of the quarterly peer review journal, Public Understanding of Science, and the author and editor of numerous books, essay collections and scholarly articles in the history and the public understanding of science.
Sabine HimmelsbachDirector, House of Electronic Arts, Basel, Switzerland
Since 2012, Sabine Himmelsbach is director of HEK (House of Electronic Arts) in Basel. After studying art history in Munich she worked for galleries in Munich and Vienna from 1993–1996 and later became project manager for exhibitions and conferences for the Steirischer Herbst Festival in Graz, Austria. In 1999 she became exhibition director at the ZKM | Center for Art and Media in Karlsruhe. From 2005–2011 she was the artistic director of the Edith-Russ-House for Media Art in Oldenburg, Germany. 2011 she curated gateways. Art and Networked Culture for the Kumu Art Museum in Tallinn as part of the European Capital of Culture Tallinn 2011 program. Her exhibitions at HEK in Basel include Ryoji Ikeda (2014), Poetics and Politics of Data (2015), Rafael Lozano- Hemmer: Preabsence (2016), unREAL (2017), Lynn Hershman Leeson: Anti-Bodies, Eco-Visionaries (2018), Entangled Realities. Living with Artificial Intelligence (2019), Making FASHION Sense and Real Feelings. Emotion and Technology (2020). In 2022 she curates Earthbound – In Dialoge with Nature for the European Capital of Culture Esch-sur-Alzette in Luxembourg. As a writer and lecturer she is dedicated to topics related to media art and digital culture.