nickm.com > classes > experimental writing, spring 2014

INSTITVTE

by Cathleen Nalezyty

INSTITVTE is a look at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology through the text of its famous Infinite Corridor. Here, the permanent inscriptions along its walls are presented side-by-side with the ever-changing bulletin board posters and student group advertising. Stripped down to the essentials of the text, INSTITVTE presents text that members of the MIT community see every day, but often overlook, and that tourists sometimes spend too much time scrutinizing, while blocking the halls.

Creation of the Text

The text included in this work consists only of text visible along the Infinite Corridor on one day, April 8th 2014. This date is of particular interest, as it was the day before MIT's annual Campus Preview Weekend (CPW) event. Posters, banners, and other advertisements are on display even more than normal -- they aim to catch the eyes of not only current students and the never-ending flow of tourists, but also prospective pre-frosh who may not have yet comMITted. Interestingly, despite the plethora of advertisements for events to occur over the next four days, many posters for events which had long-passed remained on display.

Text is presented in the order in which a traverser of the Infinite Corridor might see them; the initial text begins with the inscription outside lobby 7 on 77 Massachusetts Avenue and the final text is at the tail of building 8. In this case, the corridor is traversed (roughly) from West to East. White space is used to indicate the proximity of text to one another. For instance, overlapping text on a bulletin board may involve source text from several posters on one page, while posters in separate display cases often have an entire page to themselves.