Tavares Strachan probes the intersections of art, science and politics, asking us to consider the cultural dynamics of scientific knowledge.

Why you should listen

MacArthur Fellow Tavares Strachan tells lost stories. His ambitious, extensively researched projects often delve into hidden histories and little known or largely overlooked subject matter. He gained early acclaim for his conceptual artwork The Distance Between What We Have and What We Want (2004-06), for which he extracted a 4.5-ton block of Arctic ice and shipped it to his birthplace in the Bahamas, where it was exhibited in a specially designed, solar-powered freezer. In December 2018, Strachan launched his project ENOCH into space. Created in collaboration with SpaceX and LACMA Art + Technology Lab, ENOCH is centered on the development and launch of a satellite that brings to light the forgotten story of Robert Henry Lawrence Jr., the first African American astronaut selected for any national space program. The sculpture was designed to remain in orbit around Earth until 2025. More recent work includes The Encyclopedia of Invisibility, a sculptural work featuring thousands of entries focused on historically marginalized individuals, places and events.

In addition to the MacArthur Prize, Strachan is the recipient of numerous awards including the Frontier Art Prize in 2018. He was the Allen Institute's inaugural artist in residence in 2018 and an artist in residence at the Getty Research Institute in 2019-20. He works with organizations and institutions across disciplines to promote a broader, more inclusive understanding of the work of artists, scientists and the networks that make their work possible.

Tavares Strachan’s TED talk

More news and ideas from Tavares Strachan

Live from TED2023

Ideas that are way, way out there: Notes on Session 4 of TED2023

April 19, 2023

In a session that was by turns soul-stirring, uproariously funny, deadly serious and brilliantly colorful, seven speakers transported the TED audience to a solar engineering project in outer space, a 24-hour concert and performance, a movement to prove that birds aren’t real and more. The event: Talks from Session 4 of TED2023: Possibility, hosted by […]

Continue reading