The FAST festival celebrated MIT’s unique confluence of art, science, and technology. Directed by professor of music and media Tod Machover, FAST presented an exciting, surprising variety of work, embracing past to future, performance to debate, and installations to the unclassifiable. FAST appeared throughout the MIT campus during the semester, which was punctuated by five special festival weekends:
FAST PAST (FESTIVAL KICK-OFF), February 3–5: FAST PAST explored MIT’s unique tradition in the media arts, systems theory in art and design, and electronic music. Events included an exhibition of the work of Stan VanDerBeek, a forum on contemporary arts and cybernetics, and demonstrations of the past and future of music and technology—from Hyperinstruments, sensors and interfaces, to theories of musical mind and emotion.
FAST THINKING, March 5: Radical research on music and language, and vision and neuroscience, with a special appearance by London’s famed Lontano Ensemble. The concert featured work by MIT faculty composers, including Pulitzer Prize-winning composer John Harbison, Bang-on-a-Can All-Star Evan Ziporyn, and world premieres by Charles Shadle and Peter Child.
FAST OPERA, March 18–25: US premiere of Death and the Powers, a musically and technologically visionary "robotic" opera by Tod Machover, developed at the MIT Media Lab. Commissioned by Futurum Assocation of Monaco and given its world premiere at the Monte Carlo Opera in September 2010, the opera included animated walls, a chorus of robots, and a musical chandelier, launching a new era in opera production and expression. This production was a collaboration with the American Repertory Theater.
FAST FUTURE, April 15–16: A music/media marathon that included the Kronos Quartet, Bang-on-a-Can, Wu Man, and MIT’s own Gamelan Galak Tika and Chamber Chorus featuring hyperstrings and a MIDI Gamelan. Performances were followed by an unprecedented convening of MIT’s creative arts community with discussions about how new creative practices emerge in the unique campus environment and how these processes can be expanded and enhanced in the future.
More detail on FAST programs and events.