Energy / Entropy — Art, Autonomy, Information


Leonardo Art, Science and Technology Lecture Series 2016

Energy / Entropy --- Art, Autonomy, Information

Leturer: Caroline A. Jones

Time:2016.9.18 15:00-17:00

Venue: Chronus Art Center (Building 18, No 50 Moganshan Road, Shanghai)

Language: English with Chinese translation

Translator: Chen

Organizer: Chronus Art Center, CAFA, CAFA School of Experimental Art, Leonardo/ISAST



About The Lecture

In the middle of the 1960s, the Western art world was fascinated with ideas of Energy and Entropy.  There is great resonance between that moment and our own – in the ‘60s, industrial age theories about the “heat death of the Universe” became the cold boredom of Smithson’s “Entropy and the new monuments” and the cycling thermodynamics of Hans Haacke’s “Systems Art.”  This lecture examines the range of cultural concerns with energy and entropy as physical and affective states, theorizing that information theory replaced thermodynamics as the key discourse of energy and entropy.  Opening to conceptual art and institutional critique, information theory also brings us to the present, with works such as Yuan Goang-Ming’s Landscapes of Energy (2014) and Trevor Paglen’s Autonomy Cube (2015).


About The Lecturer

Caroline A. Jones studies modern and contemporary art, with a particular focus on its modes of production, distribution, and reception. Trained in visual studies and art history at Harvard, she did graduate work at the Institute of Fine Arts in New York before completing her PhD at Stanford University in 1992. She is currently the senior art historian in the History, Theory, and Criticism Section of the Department of Architecture at MIT, prior to which she was in the Art History department of Boston University. Having worked in the museum field for many years, first as an administrator at The Museum of Modern Art in New York, and then as Assistant Director for Curatorial Affairs at the Harvard University Art Museums, she continues to be active in the curatorial realm, with a 2011 exhibition “reinventing” Hans Haacke 1967, a solo show of the artists systems works originally installed at MIT. Producer/director of two documentary films, Jones’s many books include major museum publications, such as Modern Art at Harvard (Abbeville, 1985), Bay Area Figurative Art, 1950-1965 (University of California Press, 1990), and Sensorium: Embodied Experience, Technology, and Contemporary Art (as editor, List Visual Art Center/MIT Press, 2006). Her academic works include the award-winning c\Machine in the Studio: Constructing the Postwar American Artist (University of Chicago Press, 1996/98, winner of the Charles Eldredge Prize), the co-edited volume Picturing Science, Producing Art (Routledge, 1999), Eyesight Alone: Clement Greenberg’s Modernism and the Bureaucratization of the Senses (Chicago 2005/08), and a co-edited volume Experience: Culture, Cognition, and the Common Sense (MIT 2016). Fellowships in Berlin (2001-2), Paris (2005-6), and at the Radcliffe Institute (2013-14) have supported completion of the next scholarly book, The global work of art (Chicago, forthcoming), where “work” becomes a verb again.



Co-organized by CAC and Leonardo/ISAST in collaboration with CAFA School of Experimental Art, each installment of the series will feature renowned guest speakers from around the world on topics within the ever-expanding scope of Art/Science. CAC and its partner institutions will provide the venues for the events.


About Leonardo

Leonardo/The International Society for the Arts, Sciences and Technology (Leonardo/ISAST) serves the global network of thinkers and practitioners working in the realms where art, science and the humanities connect. Since its beginnings nearly 50 years ago, Leonardo has fostered and supported the work of artists, scientists and scholars dedicated to breaking down the barriers that often separate fields of endeavor. Today, Leonardo/ISAST continues its leadership in cross-disciplinary creativity through the publication of content on evolving platforms (in collaboration with the MIT Press); the presentation of events, residencies and art/science projects; and other programs designed to address the interests of the art/science/humanities community.