Architectural design student works on cross-disciplinary artistic projects in Russia

Michael Stradley, a second year Master of Science Student in Architecture Studies (SMArchS), spent his summer working with Russian resident artists at the Garage Museum of Contemporary Art in Moscow developing cross-disciplinary projects.

Through the MIT-Russia program, Michael was placed for an internship at the Garage Studios, a newly established live/work space for emerging artists to produce new artwork. This experience challenged his ideas about art and architecture, as well as politics and language.

In his role, Michael worked among these artists, learning about their artistic practices and sharing his skills and perspective as an architect. Some of the artists in residence have the ambition to make digital work but lack the training and software skills. Michael’s role was to start this conversation and help them begin developing this work, either by working with them directly or by training them on specific digital design software.

Upon reflection, Michael described his experience with the Garage Studios by saying, “heading into my graduate thesis year, having the time and distance (literal and psychological) to reflect on my own practice while participating in a community of young artists was critical.”

“Working among creative people from another discipline forces you to reconsider your own ideas, biases, and assumptions. In my case as an architect, the conversations I had with the artists in residence tested my ideas and work in new ways – I think the opposite is also true, and my time at the Garage brought new perspectives to a few of the artists. I have no doubt that the coming year at MIT and my future research will be more clear and broad-minded because of this experience,” Michael explains.

Flor Garza