Erik Loyer‘s award-winning work explores new blends of game dynamics, poetic expression and interactive visual storytelling. From his best-selling Strange Rain story-playing iPad/iPhone app, to his visually stunning digital fiction The Lair of the Marrow Monkey (powered by Shockwave software animation), and his interactive explorations of post-Katrina racial politics in Blue Velvet, Loyer’s interactive artistic hybridizations of music, new narratives and algorithmic play have won numerous awards, been exhibited widely, and found their way into permanent museum collections.
The Civic Arts Series, which is part of the CMS graduate program Colloquium, features talks by four artists and activists who are making innovative uses of media to reshape the possibilities of art as a source of civic imagination, experience and advocacy. Using a variety of contemporary media technologies–film, web platforms, game engines, drones–the series presenters have opened up new pathways to artistic expression that broaden public awareness around compelling civic issues and aspirations of our time.
Rachel Thompson earned her bachelor’s degree in Social Anthropology and Comparative Literature from Harvard University. Her honors thesis explored literature’s evolving role in the digital age through an ethnographic study of an online literary magazine. She also co-founded and directed the Harvard Organization for Prison Education and Reform, a network of eight volunteer groups that tutor in prisons across Massachusetts and work on advocacy initiatives relating to mass incarceration and education.
Before joining CMS, Rachel worked in Boston-area art museums — the Harvard Art Museums and the Peabody Essex Museum — with a focus on developing teaching curriculum for makerspaces as well as integrated digital media experiences for visitors.
At MIT Rachel is interested in interrogating the ethics of American incarceration media, from made-in-prison podcasts to exploitative reality television. She works as a Research Assistant in the Global Media Technologies and Cultures Lab under the direction of Lisa Parks.
Extracurricularly, Rachel has a passion for retrieving the past; in her spare time, she works on restoring film cameras and mid-century modern furniture and really just wants to talk to someone about The Twilight Zone.