The Institute for the Study of Universal Uncertainties

Phillips Academy, Andover, Massachusetts, November 2016 - March 2017

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"What makes us leave what we love best?
What is it inside us that keeps erasing itself
When we need it most,
That sends us into uncertainty for its own sake
And holds us flush there
Until we begin to love it
And have to begin again?
—Charles Wright, from
Littlefoot: A Poem (2007)

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From the signage found within the cases:

"The Institute for the Study of Universal Uncertainties is an inchoate think-tank and museum dedicated to one of the most fundamental qualities of human existence. Founded on the Andover campus in May, the Institute is taking a cross-disciplinary approach to explore how uncertainty is understood and valued in different academic contexts.

In September 2016, the Institute welcomed its first class of research fellows—39 students from four advanced classes in studio art, biology, and physics. During a convening at Geld Science Center, the fellows began sketching the Institute's research agenda. They discussed cellular permeation, chance & choice in art, genetic mutation, and other topics. They quickly agreed that everything is uncertain, a momentus claim that reconfigures Blaise Pascal's famous Pensées (1669): '
It is not certain that everything is uncertain.' Later, the fellows gathered in the old gallery in Abbot Hall (now the Elson visiting artist's studio) to discuss what the museum's collection should contain, asking, 'how is uncertainty physically manifest in the world?' and 'How can its more immaterial manifestations be illustrated in material form?'

The results of these early meetings—the identification of key ideas and their translation into or equivalence in matter—can be found here. The future of the Institute remains at the moment, well, uncertain."

This project was realized as part of Triple Candie's Artist Residency at Phillips Academy, Andover






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