Article by Matilda Bathurst, Arts at MIT
Editorial Direction by Leah Talatinian, Arts at MIT
Two installations at the Venice Architecture Biennale and the Guggenheim Bilbao invite visitors to explore the future of urban mobility
How can we research the future? It’s a question that Gabriela Bílá Advincula (MS ’21) asks herself daily in her work as a researcher in the City Science group at the MIT Media Lab. As an architect, multimedia designer, and artist, Bílá’s answers often take the form of visually rich and technologically complex installations—exercises in world building that empower visitors to become active participants in the future of their cities.
Funded by a Grant from the Council for the Arts at MIT (CAMIT), Bílá collaborated with the team at City Science and others to expand her MIT Media Lab Master’s thesis, entitled With(in), into an immersive installation for the 2021 Venice Architecture Biennale. A new installation, Two Mobility Futures 0∞, developed by Bílá, City Science, and collaborators, with an International Exhibitions Grant from MIT Center for Art, Science & Technology (CAST), now forms part of the Guggenheim Bilbao’s exhibition Motion. Autos, Art, Architecture, curated by Lord Norman Foster.
Both projects share a defining commitment to human-centered storytelling, recognizing that the intimate details of daily life provide vital touchpoints for understanding interconnected systems and rapid urbanization. With(in) tells the story of three women living in informal settlements within larger cities: MamaG in Port Harcourt, Nigeria, Eva in Guadalajara, Mexico, and Gihan in Cairo, Egypt. Constructed as a series of digital screens and volumetric city models, With(in) reveals the resourceful ways that these three women navigate their environments, focusing on rituals of food preparation as the nexus of community life.