Breaking Ground: Pop-Up Art at MIT's Central Utilities Plant

Saturday, March 09, 2019 at 6:00pm to 8:30pm

Central Utilities Plant, Chiller Hall 59 Vassar Street (Building 42)

Breaking Ground:  An Immersive Meditation on the Oilfields of North Dakota

Documentary artist Valery Lyman spent 4 years photographing and recording audio in the Bakken oilfields of North Dakota (2013-2016), documenting the rise of the oil industry there and the large worker migration that went along with it. Hers is the most comprehensive visual-aural archive of this particular time and place in American history.  

In Breaking Ground, this documentary material will be projected directly onto the machinery in multiple points throughout MITs Central Utilities Plant in Cambridge, creating a multi-channel photo-phonic installation at the operational plant that provides electricity, steam heat, and chilled water to more than 100 campus buildings.  

This immersive configuration invites Cambridge residents, MIT students and the general public alike to consider the human side of energy extraction and re-imagine the nature of an energy source and industrial monument that lives within their very own community.  While the Central Utilities Plant sometimes offers private tours, this will be the first time this exquisite site is open to the general public and the first time that the plant has hosted an art exhibit.

Event Type

Community Event, Performing Arts

Events By Interest

Arts/Music/Film, General

Events By Audience

Public, MIT Community


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