Matthew Battles

No bird has the heart to sing in a thicket of questions. —René Char

View the Project on GitHub mbattles/MatthewBattles

Matthew Battles is a maker and thinker whose work merges literary, scholarly, and artistic forms of inquiry. His writing on the cultural dimensions of science and technology appears such venues as The American Scholar, The Atlantic, Harper’s Magazine, and The New York Times. His most recent book include a material and cultural history of writing entitled Palimpsest: A History of the Written Word, published by W. W. Norton in 2015; and Tree, published by Bloomsbury in 2017 as part of the Object Lessons series.

With metaLAB (at) Harvard, Matthew advances an agenda of creative research exploring the dark abundance of collections in libraries and museums; technology’s impact on our experience of art, culture, and the natural world; and the conditions of culture and experience in the context of deep time. This work takes varied form in writing, video, and multimedia installation, in works like A Bit in the Abyss (with metaLAB), a multimedia architectural installation for Boston’s 2015 Illuminus festival; and Your Story Has Touched My Heart (with Sarah Newman, 2016), an appropriation piece exploring memory and mystery in photo archives.