MIT’s Hacking Arts Festival: Tech-enabled art, fashion, music, start-ups and performances


Hackathon to feature Jibo, the world's first social robot, developed at MIT

CAMBRIDGE, Mass., November 7, 2016––Robots that paint. A performance on a 3-D printed violin. Tech-inspired fashion. A look at art created with living organisms. Virtual reality sensory experiences.This is a sampling of MIT’s Hacking Arts, a festival designed to inspire new advances in the creative industries by fostering collaboration between artists, musicians, engineers, scientists and entrepreneurs. Hacking Arts will be held on Saturday, November 19, 2016 at the MIT Media Lab on the Cambridge, MA campus.  A Hackathon featuring Jibo, the world's first social robot developed at MIT, and Paint Bots—robots that create art–will kick off at 4pm and continue through 4pm on November 20.

Now in its fourth year, Hacking Arts was launched and is organized by the MIT Sloan School of Management Entertainment, Media & Sports Club in partnership with MIT's Center for Art, Science, and Technology and the Martin Trust Center for MIT Entrepreneurship.

“We’re not just talking about the future of the arts – we’re creating it,” says Helen Smith, MIT Sloan MBA Class of 2017 and co-chairperson of Hacking Arts.

A Tech Expo will transform the MIT List Visual Center into a demo room, an art and fashion gallery, a video game room, an interactive performance space, and a social scene with networking opportunities. Having tripled in size from last year, the Tech Expo will be open to the general public free of charge. Festival ticket holders will be granted early entrance.  All visitors are invited to explore interactive exhibitions featuring artists’ work along with products and interactive prototypes from start-ups and companies on the cutting edge of the creative arts.

Festival panels will include:

  • Play, Perform, Participate
  • Tools for Creatives
  • From Bits to Hits: The Changing Music Industry
  • Made to Measure: Fashion in the 21st Century
  • Remixing Our Senses
  • Taking Virtual Storytelling to the Next Level
  • Dance and Digital Media
  • Biotech and Art: Panelist Joe Davis, a pioneer in creating art with genes and bacteria, will be sharing visuals of his work

Start-ups slated to present at the conference and display prototypes at the Tech Expo are:

  • Rendever–Customizes virtual reality for an aging population, giving older adults an opportunity to travel the world or visit favorite locales, helping to increase happiness and lower depression in an at-risk population.
  • Cuseum—A museum engagement platform that powers mobile apps for museums and cultural institutions to create deeper visitor experiences.
  • Armoire—A wardrobe-as-a-service company that rents and delivers high-end clothes for up-and-coming and busy professional women
  • HireNotes—A platform to find clients, gigs and musicians while also streamlining the payment process. Created in collaboration with the New England Conservatory.

LIMINUS, a Boston-based start-up, will launch a new app at the festival that is a combination of augmented reality gaming and theater magic. With the help of their partners at, users of the app will be directed to locations around the Media Lab to witness live performances by local actors. To learn more, please visit:

Slated performers are:

  • Masary Studios—A Boston-based team of artists creating site-specific public art that is at once a performance, a reconsideration of architecture, and a visual spectacle.
  • Renegade Performance Group—A Brooklyn-based dance company exploring Black artistic aesthetics and expressions through dance theatre, visual performance, and film/media.

With 250 expected participants, the Hackathon, which features the world's first social robot along with robots that create art, is now closed. The Hackathon will feature sponsored challenges from Adobe Systems and Autodesk, as well as workshops, resources and mentorship from Jibo, Unity 3D, Formlabs and Shapeways, all within a unique “garage-inspired” space on the 6th floor of the MIT Media Lab, to be designed by Vitra. Ten winners will be selected on Sunday afternoon and featured on the Hacking Arts website.

Additional festival collaborators include the MIT Innovation Initiative, Boston Tech Poetics, Rhode Island School of Design STEAM, Emerson College, Jean-Jacques & Valeria Degroof, Goethe-Institut Boston, and the New England Conservatory.

Tickets to Hacking Arts may be purchased at:

To learn more about Hacking Arts, please visit:

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