Performative lectures explore sound, science and history

May 05, 2017 | By Stephanie Kulke

EVANSTON - Most people readily recognize the unmistakable sound of a heartbeat. The familiar thump is a vital sign of life, a telling piece of information for medicine, and, to transdisciplinary artist Dario Robleto, a work of art.

The poet, artist and “citizen-scientist” will present two programs at Northwestern University that highlight his research-driven practice that results in intricately handcrafted objects and reflect his exploration of music, popular culture, science, war and American history.

“The Poetry of Prisms” will be presented at 4 p.m. Tuesday, May 9, and “The Pulse Armed With a Pen: An Unknown History of the Human Heartbeat,” will take place at 7 p.m. Wednesday, May 10. The programs are co-presented by the McCormick School of Engineering and Block Museum of Art.  

Both events are free and open to the public.

Robleto’s work has been exhibited in museums and galleries across the United States, including a solo show at the Whitney Museum of American Art. His interest in scientific and historical research have garnered him positions as a research fellow at the Smithsonian Institution and an artist-in-residence in neuroaesthetics at the University of Houston’s Cullen College of Engineering.

Event information:

Dean’s Seminar Series: “The Poetry of Prisms”
Tuesday, May 9, 4 p.m.
Ford Motor Company Engineering Design Center (Ford 1-350)
2133 Sheridan Road, Evanston campus

Robleto takes on subjects ranging from polar glaciers to time capsules. He works across sculpture, installation and sound to intertwine multiple histories, including those of human exploration in both outer and inner space.

His talk will survey his transdisciplinary practice working with experts in various fields such as glaciologists, sound archeologists, neuroscientists and artificial heart researchers and engineers.

“The Pulse Armed With a Pen: An Unknown History of the Human Heartbeat”
Wednesday, May 10, 7 p.m.
Segal Visitors Center, 1841 Sheridan Road, Evanston campus

Part storytelling, original research and rare sound performance, Robleto’s performative lecture will weave together topics as diverse as the earliest attempts to record the heartbeat as sound and image, the heartbeat and brainwave recordings currently on a probe heading for the edge of the solar system, pre-Edison sound recordings and recent developments in the history of the artificial heart. The result is a creative intertwining of multiple histories of human exploration, in both outer and inner space.

 Advance registration is requested.

For more information on the research behind this performance, see The New York Times story “The Echoes of Hearts Long Silenced.”

Transdisciplinary Artist

Since 1997, Robleto has exhibited his work in museums and galleries across the United States, including at the Whitney Museum of American Art, Museum of Contemporary Art in San Diego and the Menil Collection in Houston. In 2008, the Frances Young Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery at Skidmore College organized “Alloy of Love,” a 10-year survey exhibition of Robleto’s art. His work is currently on view on Northwestern’s Evanston campus in the Block Museum’s “If You Remember, I Remember” exhibition.

Robleto has served as visiting artist and lecturer at several colleges and universities including Bard College, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the California College of the Arts. His awards include the 2007 Joan Mitchell Foundation Grant and the 2009 USA Rasmuson Fellowship. In 2011, the National Museum of American History selected Robleto as a Smithsonian Artist Research Fellow. He was also the 2016 Texas State Artist Laureate and serves as Artist in Residence in neuroaesthetics at the University of Houston’s Cullen College of Engineering.