March 19 – September 13, 2009

An exhibition of selected works by Shada/Jahn (Steve Shada and MIT Media Lab Artist in Residence Marisa Jahn) and Cati Vaucelle.

This art exhibition reflected MIT’s ongoing commitment to working with contemporary artists whose work often examines the relationships between science, art, technology, and humanity. Shada/Jahn’s work—and in their collaboration with media artist Cati Vaucelle—“explores, constructs, and intervenes natural and social systems. Ranging in practice from deeply personal to highly participatory, their work often relies on the collaborative authorship and distributive intelligence of surrounding people and situations.”


Pleasurecraft, Shada/Jahn

A rowboat and instruction manual outfitted to prepare any suitor to woo with splendor and romance, Pleasurecraft is the perfect kit for a serenade. A musical score with easy-to-read icons and corresponding sound choreographs gesture with landscape, making it simple for any klutz to advance through the stages of romance. The potential lover will find Pleasurecraft’s luxurious pillows and champagne cooler irresistible. Romance made easy—one, two, three!


WOW Pod, Shada/Jahn

World of Warcraft (WOW) is a massive online multi-player game that attracts millions of players. A typical scenario for teenagers addicted to the game is to settle down in front of the monitor on Friday night and collapse on Sunday night. Sleep deprivation as well as high saturated fat diet is the pride of these players who barely take any breaks, and when they do they sign the typical “AFK” (“Away from Keyboard”) that pops up on top of their avatar. The average AFK is two minutes, time to run to the fridge, to open a bag of potato chips, to replenish the glass of milk, or go to the bathroom. A model for an immersive architectural solution that anticipates all life needs, the Shada/Jahn/Vaucelle WOW Pod responds to these conditions.


Thanksgiving Dinner in Five Seconds, Shada/Jahn and Vaucelle

A proposal for a meal cooked using a single bolt of lightning. One can describe this project as “slightly off the mark” in several ways. For instance, to harness a force of nature as a means of expediting a culturally important meal is to overlook the importance of Thanksgiving’s ritualistic aspect. Through its extraordinarily elaborate process—researching electrical conduction, consulting with scientists, testing both the conductivity and resistance of the materials involved (including the turkeys)—the project also performs and undoes the illusion held in the United States of a fast-food meal. In other words, the alternative process of cooking with lightning in fact does not “save” time or fulfill its promise of a “lightning-fast” meal but disguises the expenditure of time through tragicomic means.

Pictured: Pleasurecraft, Steve Shada & Marisa Jahn, 2008.