RE:presentation (Chapter 2), a new exhibit showcasing the work of Emilio Vavarella, Broad’s eighth artist-in-residence, is on display in the Second Floor Connector Gallery and the Stanley Building Lobby (75 Ames Street), beginning November 22. The exhibit is open to all Broadies.
This exhibit stems from Emilio Vavarella’s previous work in which his mother wove a textile out of his genetic code, now in the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art in Bologna, Italy. Here, Emilio has been working on a custom software that translates an individual’s genetic code into pixel arrays that compose genetic portraits. Over the summer, he invited nominations from fellow Broadies to receive a genetic portrait based on one simple question: “who is the person at Broad you are most grateful for?” 11 names were randomly selected from the original nominations. Participants submitted a genetic sample to a third-party site (think 23andMe) and then temporarily shared the raw data with Emilio. The data was then fed into Emilio’s custom software which translated the individual genetic codes into chromatic codes that compose abstract portraits. Each portrait reveals the genetic uniqueness of the subject and challenges our capacity and common desire to capture the visual essence of a person.
The exhibit will finish with a closing celebration on Wednesday, March 20, 2024 from 3:00-5:00pm, in which Emilio will speak more about his work, and subjects will be able to take home their portraits, a gift from the artist. Please RSVP for the reception by March 14 at broad.io/VavarellaClosing.
About the Artist:
Emilio Vavarella is an Italian artist working at the intersection of interdisciplinary art practice, theoretical research, and media experimentation. His work explores the relationship between subjectivity, nonhuman creativity, and technological power. It is informed by the history of conceptual art, digital and network cultures, and new media practices. Vavarella moves seamlessly between old and new media, and exploits technical errors and other unpredictabilities to reveal the logic and the hidden structures of power.
Vavarella is currently working toward a PhD in Film and Visual Studies and Critical Media Practice at Harvard University. He is a 2023 Harvard Horizons Scholar and the current artist in residence at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard. He holds an M.A. cum laude in Visual Arts from Iuav University of Venice, with study abroad fellowships at Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design, Tel Aviv and Bilgi University of Istanbul and received a B.A. cum laude in Visual, Cultural, and Media Studies from the University of Bologna.