Art and Science | Agnieszka Kurant

Agnieszka Kurant

The End of Signature, 2020-21

18mm coated cobalt blue neon tubing, magnetic neon transformers, custom programmed sequencer controller

Commissioned with MIT Percent-for-Art Funds

Since 1968, MIT’s Percent-for-Art Program has allocated funds to commission site-specific art along with each new major construction or renovation project on campus. This tour highlights select Percent-for-Art pieces whose designs reflect their unique location within a hub of science and innovation.

This tour was created by Isabelle Yen, Class of 2021 in Computer Science and Economics. Yen was a List Center Student Guide for three years of her undergraduate career.

One of the newest additions to the public art collection is installed as part of MIT’s Kendall Square Initiative. When completed, the initiative will turn Kendall Square into a place of scientific and community exchange. Agnieszka Kurant’s The End of Signature also brings the community together in a different way: in the form of two collective signatures, one for the MIT community and one for Cambridge residents, realized as LED sculptures across two new buildings.

Kurant, a former Artist-in-Residence at MIT’s Center for Art, Science & Technology, is a conceptual artist who explores ideas such as collective intelligence, non-human intelligence, and social capital through her work. In order to create the collective signatures, Kurant worked with researchers from MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab to digitally aggregate hundreds of individual signatures. The End of Signature invites us to think about the relationship between individual and collective identity and how technology can play a role in eroding the former in favor of the latter.