Living by Protocol

Living by protocol queries the contemporary reflections of artists on, with, and by social media.
Cambridge, USA
Picture of Living by Protocol

Exhibition, May 17–July 3, 2022

Harvard Art Museums, Lightbox Gallery


Living by Protocol queries the contemporary reflections of artists and artistic researchers on, with, and by social media. While scientific research deepens the knowledge of a specific domain, art and artistic research has the power to transfer questions, problems, and opportunities into wider spectrums of society. The nine-grid structured monitors within Harvard Art Museum’s Lightbox Gallery become a lens into untold stories of social databases and networked culture. In the Spring of 2022, metaLAB will be hosting this 7-week exhibition showcasing contemporary works by international artists that deal with critical topics related to social media. The show will commence with a week of talks, discussions, and other hybrid programming. Social media will be simultaneously the topic, platform, and space of experimentation.


The use of social media has become a daily routine for billions of people throughout the last decade. The problems and possibilities of this new media reality were reflected and questioned by artists long before its popularization. Cyberfeminism and Net Art laid a foundation in the digital realm as an artistic medium in the early 1990s. Today, contemporary art is almost unthinkable without the network effects of Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, TikTok, and Facebook. This exhibition will run for seven weeks from May 17-July 3, 2022 at the Lightbox Gallery at Harvard Art Museums. The lineup of artists participating in this exhibition includes: Manja Ebert, Ben Grosser, Lauren Lee McCarthy, Mirabelle Jones, Mimi Onuoha, Kim Albrecht, Sarah Newman & Jad Esber, and Winnie Soon.

This exhibition, co-organized by metaLAB Principals Kim Albrecht and Sarah Newman will build on their previous collaborations at the intersections of emerging technologies and artistic research, which have taken shape through exhibitions, workshops, and publications.


Manja Ebert

Media artist Manja Ebert is working in the field of video and installation, artistically exploring digital contemporary technologies, phenomena and social platforms which she transfers into the physical space.

Ben Grosser

Artist @bengrosser focuses on the cultural effects of software. He is the creator of Demetricator, Go Rando, Endless Doomscroller, ORDER OF MAGNITUDE, and Grosser is an Assoc Prof at @Illinois_Alma, w/ appts in @ArtDesignIL, @NCSAatIllinois, & @iSchoolUI.

Lauren Lee McCarthy

Lauren Lee McCarthy is an LA-based artist examining social relationships in the midst of surveillance, automation, and algorithmic living. She is the creator of p5.js, an open source platform for learning creative expression through code online.

Mirabelle Jones

Mirabelle Jones (they / them) is a queer, non-binary creative technologist, educator, researcher, and transdisciplinary artist focused on the development of interactive and immersive storytelling technologies, educational activism, and ethical AI practices through a lens of intersectional data feminism.

Mimi Onuoha

Mimi Ọnụọha is a Nigerian-American artist whose work investigates what is treated as natural in a world mediated by technology. Her multimedia practice foregrounds absence and removal.

Kim Albrecht

Kim Albrecht visualizes cultural, technological, and scientific forms of knowledge. His diagrams are meant to unfold and question the structures of representation and explore the aesthetic of the intermingling of technology and society through the sensual knowledge of tracing information.

Sarah Newman

Sarah Newman is the Director of Art & Education at metaLAB at Harvard and Co-Founder of the Data Nutrition Project. Working at the intersection of research and art, Newman’s work engages with technology’s role in human experience.

Jad Esber

Jad Esber is a builder and scholar interested in the future of the internet. He’s the Co-Founder and CEO of koodos and an Affiliate at the Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society at Harvard and a Fellow at the Platform Cooperative Consortium at the New School.

Winnie Soon

Born and raised in Hong Kong, Winnie Soon is an artistic coder and researcher interested in queering the intersections of art and technology, engaging with topics like queer code and coding, digital censorship and erasure, experimental diagramming and software publishing.