Xin Liu (MS ‘18) is an artist, engineer, and designer. As the recently appointed arts curator for the Media Lab’s Space Exploration Initiative, Liu works to bring speculative and science fiction together with technology, and with visual, multimedia, and performance arts—in exhibitions and presentations, as well as in research and project development.
This September, Liu will be at Ars Electronica in Linz, Austria to present A Glitch in the Stars: the Space Exploration Initiative’s first arts exhibition featuring work developed for the inaugural research parabolic flight—projects designed to imagine and design for humanity’s future in space. In this interview, Liu explains why the arts are a crucial component of the Space Exploration Initiative, and offers some insight into the projects and concepts explored in the upcoming exhibition.
What is your background? What are your current interests?
As a research-based artist and engineer, I’m deeply fascinated by how technological development is changing the human experience: the time we live through, the way we die, the food we eat, the emotions we share. In my recent work, I’ve been pursuing an interest in the relationship between everyday materials and events, and the larger-scale, scientific understanding of the human experience. I want to make sense of the fact that in every moment of life—whether we are having lunch, listening to a concert, or falling in love—we are all pulled by gravity to this big rock, the Earth, and are floating, spinning in the massive emptiness of space. I find this duality of life hauntingly beautiful.