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Film Screening and Conversation: Artist Dario Robleto with Jennifer Roberts

November 30, 2023 @ 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm

 |  FREE


November 30, 2023
6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Event Categories:


Harvard Art Museums
32 Quincy St
Cambridge, MA 02138 United States


Harvard Art Museums
(617) 495-9400

A monochromatic film still of an arm and a tool, with several religious figures in the background.

This event does not require registration; see further details below.

Join us for a screening of artist Dario Robleto’s film The Aorta of an Archivist, followed by a conversation between Robleto and art historian Jennifer Roberts, in conjunction with the exhibition Seeing in Art and Medicine, on view from September 2 to December 30, 2023.

About the film:
The Aorta of an Archivist, 2021 (English; 53 min.)

Written, researched, and directed by Dario Robleto and commissioned by the Spencer Museum of Art in Lawrence, Kansas, The Aorta of an Archivist is an immersive sound and video installation that connects the artist’s deep and longstanding research on the cosmos, the human heart, and the history and philosophical implications of sound recording. The work is framed by the concept of the “unobservable universe,” an astronomical phenomenon with profound consequences: because the universe is expanding so quickly, light from the stars rapidly moving away from Earth will no longer be captured by even our strongest telescopes. The cosmos has presented us with an observational threshold that seems impermeable.

The narratives within The Aorta of an Archivist remind us that we have continually crossed boundaries that once seemed impassable, especially with respect to our bodies. The film traces three “firsts” in the history of recording bodies: the first time live music and singing were recorded; the first time brain waves were recorded in a dream state; and the first time a human heartbeat was recorded while listening to music. These stories are told through narration, sound, and visuals drawn from various sources, including still images of historical events, footage from NASA, and photographs of Robleto’s experiments in a makeshift laboratory. Through complex layering and the deliberate confusion of scale, the film prompts viewers to question what is known and unknown, knowable and unknowable—to ask where our observational limits lie.

The film draws from Robleto’s print series The First Time, The Heart (A Portrait of Life 1854–1913), selections from which are on view in Seeing in Art and Medicine.

Dario Robleto, Artist
Jennifer Roberts, Drew Gilpin Faust Professor of the Humanities, American and Contemporary Art, and Director of Undergraduate Studies, Department of History of Art and Architecture, Harvard University

Before the screening, guests are invited to visit the exhibition on Level 3.

Free admission, but seating is limited and available on a first-come, first-served basis.

The screening and conversation will take place in Menschel Hall, Lower Level. Doors will open at 5:30pm, at the Broadway entrance.

Limited complimentary parking is available in the Broadway Garage, 7 Felton Street, Cambridge.

The Harvard Art Museums are now offering free admission every day, Tuesday through Sunday. Please see the museum visit page to learn about our general policies for visiting the museums.

Support for Seeing in Art and Medicine is provided by the José Soriano Fund, the Gurel Student Exhibition Fund, and the Annemarie Henle Pope Special Exhibitions Fund. Related programming is supported by the M. Victor Leventritt Lecture Series Endowment Fund and the Richard L. Menschel Endowment Fund.

The Harvard Art Museums are committed to accessibility for all visitors. For anyone requiring accessibility accommodations for our programs, please contact us at am_register@harvard.edu at least 48 hours in advance.