An Anthropologist at Eyebeam

A small crowd assembles in Eyebeam’s mainspace. Rows of red, metal chairs have been hastily arranged facing an elevated stage upon which perches a pair of welcoming armchairs. Two artists will soon be dialog, Eyebeam fellow Mark Shepard and honorary resident Jordan Crandall. For many years, both artists have been engaged with problems of data and urbanism, an interest that has inflected their respective works at Eyebeam. Mark and Jordan have organized this evening’s dialogue to discuss the following prompt: What constitutes the urban today? Or, perhaps more precisely: how might we think about the constitution of the urban today? It is a conversation that has been incubating for several months in Eyebeam’s Urban Research Group.



The first in an ongoing series of reflections, written by an anthropologist at Eyebeam.

   I began my research initiative at Eyebeam Atelier a little over a year now, interning with the residency and fellows program. Preparing to conduct a dissertation project on hackerspaces as urban political spaces, I have come to Eyebeam to learn about hackerspaces’ nearest kinfolk: the media lab. In this bustling workshop on the edge of Chelsea, every day is filled with energy and excitement. Each week, artists create works and projects that astound, baffle, challenge, divert, and excite. Yet, no matter how playful or formalistic these works have been, I cannot help but see fragments of political urgency woven throughout each of them.

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