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Lightbox Navigations: Cleanup by Kyle Parry

Gallery Talk

Harvard Art Museums, 32 Quincy Street
Cambridge MA

Throughout the Cambridge Science Festival (April 17–26), join us in the Lightbox Gallery at 2pm for a daily investigation of how technology can help us visualize, explore, and play with large fields of information.

About today’s program:
In the summer of 1989, picturesque Prince William Sound in southern Alaska became the scene of a multi-billion dollar, multi-institutional “cleanup” operation. A few months before, just after midnight on March 24, an Exxon-owned tanker carrying Prudhoe Bay crude oil had run aground on a reef well outside its shipping lane, ultimately releasing some 10 to 40 million gallons, causing one of the worst environmental disasters in history. The botched response effort by Exxon and Alyeska Pipeline and the shocking sights of oil-smothered wildlife and oil-ridden beaches set off extraordinary amounts of imaging and storytelling, for use in upcoming litigation and nightly news broadcasts. For the summer at least, the lower 48 mourned with Alaskans.

Cleanup, by Kyle Parry, a member of metaLAB (at) Harvard, exposes an unusual byproduct of the spill: a roughly 777-gigabyte, 56-hour digital archive of videos produced by state and federal agencies from the first days of the catastrophe through the end of 1990. Cleanup gathers fragments of this intractable archive into shifting assemblages of violence, deception, performance, and resilience. Visitors will be able to talk with members of the metaLAB team and learn more about digital collections and collections data.

This event will take place in the Lightbox Gallery, Level 5.

Free with museums admission. This talk is limited to 15 people and is available on a first-come, first-served basis; no registration required.

metaLAB (at) Harvard is a design and research group exploring the boundaries of digital culture.