Emilio Vavarella solo show “rs548049170_1_69869_TT (The Other Shapes of Me): Sourcecode” marks the conclusive act in a trilogy of exhibitions based on Vavarella’s project “rs548049170_1_69869_TT” (The Other Shapes of Me) and curated by the cultural organization Ramdom. The idea of the source code permeates the body of works exhibited in the gallery, and forms the basis of the conceptual and technical infrastructure of the exhibition. A source code is simultaneously an origin and an elaboration, a source of life and the effect of life’s digital processing. The show is the result of Vavarella’s research into the origin and current applications of binary technology: from weaving to programming, algorithms, software, and automation processes, up to the complete computerization of the human being.

The exhibition opened at GALLLERIAPIÙ in Bologna last May and will close on September 8th. It follows the exhibitions “Ideas, Hypotheses, Assumptions and Objects” (July-September 2020, Gagliano del Capo), and “Errors, Limits and Malfunctions” (January-February 2021, Shanghai). Whereas the previous two exhibitions in this series were focused respectively on Vavarella’s research process and on his work methodology, the current show will unveil Vavarella’s new project in its entirety. The fulcrum of the show is the installation “rs548049170_1_69869_TT” (The Other Shapes of Me). The title refers to the first line of text resulting from the genotyping of Vavarella’s DNA. This piece is based on the translation of his genetic code into a large fabric, through the labour of his mother, using one of the first modern computational machines from the late nineteenth century: the Jacquard loom. The result is a monumental work composed of a grayscale fabric, a loom, and a video. The use of the nineteenth-century loom led to the production of a grayscale textile sixty centimeters wide and eighty-two meters long, thus pushing the technical possibilities of this early computational machine to their furthest limits. This work has become part of the permanent collection of MAMbo – Museo d’Arte Moderna di Bologna.

Stills from by rs548049170_1_69869_TT (The Other Shapes of Me) Emilio-Vavarella-1-6

The show also includes a new series of works entitled “Sections (The Other Shapes of Me):” medium- and large-scale tapestries, eight of which are on view, that explore the weaving possibilities of contemporary digital looms. Every single piece corresponds to a section of Vavarella’s DNA. Pushing the technical possibilities of these more modern machines, Vavarella has produced polychrome tapestries whose vertical dimension corresponds to his own height.

The exhibition is closed by the series “Samples (The Other Shapes of Me):” nine small- and medium-sized tapestries that correspond to a DNA sample of the artist, woven through heterogeneous digital processes.

Finally, the show is accompanied by the artist book “rs548049170_1_69869_TT” published by MOUSSE and edited by Emilio Vavarella, Claudio Zecchi, and Paolo Mele. This publication highlights and extends the aim of Vavarella’s project through the contributions of other fourteen thinkers and practitioners from the fields of art, philosophy, bioengineering, media theory, and the history of science and technology: Lorenzo Balbi, George M. Church, Francesco Giaquinto, Ellen Harlizius-Klück, Sabine Himmelsbach, Paolo Mele, Stephen Monteiro, Carla Petrocelli, Davide Quadrio, Eugene Thacker, Ed Regis, Devin Wangert, Ursula Wolz and Claudio Zecchi.

More info on the project here: http://emiliovavarella.com/othershapes/


FLAHERTY 2021 Poster

The Film Study Center and Critical Media Practice program are delighted to announce our 2021 Flaherty Film Seminar Fellows, who will attend the seminar in July.

Parker Hatley (CMP student and 2021-22 FSC-Harvard fellow)
Chrystel Oloukoï (CMP student)
Julia Sharpe (CMP student and 2021-22 FSC-Harvard fellow)
Daphne Young Xu (2021-22 FSC-Harvard fellow)

This list includes our fellows from 2021 and 2020 as last summer’s seminar was canceled.

Programmed by Janaína Oliveira

Uncertainty, fragmentation, opacity. We live in a time when the transparency of convictions and definitions and the desire for total understanding of differences that historically guided the Western world of images no longer holds. In cinema, the boundaries between center and margin have been loosened and dissolved. Today, the critical issue may no longer be to relocate the center but our perceptions of the margins. More than ever, the traditional geographical boundaries of cinemas have proven unsatisfactory, as cultural and historical connections are continually reworked. Moving images require both filmmakers and viewers to negotiate what is not understood: there is no such thing as a blind spot; there never was. The spots are opaque, and they compel us to shape new tools for describing what we see, feel, and think.

The 66th edition of the Flaherty Film Seminar will inspire us to look defiantly at the opaque places of cinema. As suggested by the writer and philosopher Édouard Glissant, the works presented will “clamor for the rights to opacity for everyone” in their irreducible singularities. Opacity is an unfolding force that creates openings and endless possibilities of cinematic existence, especially for subjects that have been excluded or are less valued on conventional screens. The Seminar will be an opportunity to experience the moving image in its power, beauty, and, most of all, ordinariness. As an invitation for displacement or provocation, it points to an open future, to cultural, formal, aesthetic freedoms, where questioning is prioritized over finding answers.


CMP welcomes four new students to the secondary field: Ria Gyawali from Anthropology, Ana Laura Malmaceda from Romance Languages and Literatures, Junnan Mu from African and African American Studies, and Nnenna Onuoha from Anthropology.

We look forward to following their research and artistic practice and supporting their capstone work.

Chaque Mercredi Caracas_cover_stack

“Chaque Mercredi Caracas,” the first publication of CMP Projects, was awarded one of the Most Beautiful Swiss Books 2020. CMP students Noha Mokhtar and Xavier Nueno, in collaboration with visiting editor and designer Gregor Huber, worked on this publication in the context of the new course CMP Projects: Publication and Production, offered since Fall 2020 by Joana Pimenta.

The book presents a sequence of black-and-white images taken from the travel sections of the newspapers Le Monde and The New York Times from the 1960s onwards. By focusing on visual representations of “the Other” in travel reportages and advertisements, the collection of images explores the relationship between colonialism and the evolution of mass tourism in the second half of the 20th century: a world that is within reach and ready for consumption. As an insert to the book, “Our Letters Crossed” responds to the images from today’s perspective. In a collection of letters written by friends in different parts of the world, each one addresses its sender’s experience of an unprecedented year. 2020 is an island that didn’t exist.

We are delighted that the book won this important award! Every year, the Swiss Federal Office of Culture organises the “Most Beautiful Swiss Books” competition to honour outstanding achievements in the field of book design and production, with particular attention being paid to works that express contemporary trends. The 19 Most Beautiful Swiss Books of the 2020 edition were named by the FOC on the recommendation of an international jury. The award-winning books will be shown in an exhibition at the Helmhaus Museum in Zurich from 24 to 27 June 2021 and will then be on display at other locations in Switzerland and abroad.

In the meantime, CMP Projects is already working on its second publication, together with Parker Hatley.

The book is published by Edition Hors-Sujet and is now available in different bookstores in the US and Europe, as well as on the website. You can also find it at Printed Matter in NYC.




From "Imitation Game" by Stephanie Deumer

From “Imitation Game” by Stephanie Deumer

Sensate: A Journal for Experiments in Critical Media Practice (co-founded by CMP-ers Julia Yezbick and Lindsey Lodhie) has just launched a special collection called On Immersion exploring questions around a “sense of being there” and forms of mediated interaction in fields from cultural anthropology to immersive technology. The collection includes an editorial essay as well as articles by Peter Lunenfeld, Young Joo Lee, and Stephanie Deumer – some of which grew out of conversations at a CMP workshop on Immersion: Social and Technological Pasts and Futures held at the Radcliffe Institute in March 2019.

Collection co-editors Julia Yezbick, Rachel Yezbick, and CMP student Emilio Vavarella frame their questions in the introductory essay: “What purchase do we give to first-hand experience over other forms of mediated interaction? Where does the immersive begin and end? How do various forms of media immerse us differently, and to what effect? And what is gained and what is lost in immersive media experiences as compared to other forms or modalities of mediated experiences?”

Each piece in the collection makes use of the possibilities of the web medium in different ways. Lunenfeld’s “Collodial Supension: Immersion and the Pedagogies of Making” is entirely constructed within Google spreadsheets but breaks the traditional functional limits of that format; Lee’s “In between the states of Immersion and De-immersion” use a new “spacialized” tool to enable the reader to move through and rearrange her work as they might in a gallery or room.

It’s exciting to see this collection – which is still open for submissions – emerge in a format that is so visually, functionally, and intellectually rich.