Dario Robleto is a transdisciplinary artist, storyteller, and “citizen-scientist” whose research-driven practice results in intricately handcrafted objects that reflect his exploration of music, popular culture, science, war, and American history.
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. Robleto’s work, Defiant Gardens, was on view at the Block Museum from February through June 2017 as part of the exhibition “If You Remember, I Remember.”
Robleto visited the Block Museum in person in May 2017 to present his performative lecture The Pulse Armed with a Pen: An Unknown History of the Human Heartbeat which is the culmination of years of research on the history of audio recording of the heartbeat. The lecture weaves 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. Robleto’s visit was part of the ongoing collaboration between the Block Museum of Art and the McCormick School of Engineering which partners with innovators at the intersection of art and engineering.
During his time at Northwestern Robleto met with a variety of faculty throughout the learning about their research and sharing his own. Robleto then sat down with Susy Bielak, the Block’s Associate Direct of Engagement and Curator of Public Practice to discuss the cross-pollination between the arts and sciences, and the role of the University in hosting such partnerships. Both fields, he explained, share the same quest: to increase the sensitivity of our observations. “How can an artist become a living Hubble telescope, an emoting Hadron Collider?” the artist asked.