The Block Museum of Art and the McCormick School of Engineering are proud to announce the publication of The Heart’s Knowledge: Science and Empathy in the Art of Dario Robleto. Accompanying the 2023 Block Museum exhibition of the same name, the text offers a thematic appraisal of Robleto’s intertwined fascinations with the human heart and the cosmic boundaries of perception. The prints, sculptures, and films of American artist Dario Robleto (b. 1972) explore the pathos and the speculative potential of scientific inquiry:
How does the history of cardiography speak to the scientific quest to picture the invisible? How do the heart’s cultural and spiritual connotations shape our understanding of the universe we inhabit and the unknown forms of life it may contain?
Structured around three broad themes that run through Robleto’s practice: Heartbeats, Wavelengths, and Horizons, this book traverses physical and intellectual boundaries, extending from the pulses and brainwaves of the human body to the faintest interstellar glimmers from the edges of our observable universe. Through contributions across the disciplines of musicology, anthropology, cardiology, engineering, history of science, and art history, The Heart’s Knowledge offers an engaging and accessible companion to Robleto’s wide-ranging work.
Richly illustrated with images including selections from his 2017 portfolio, The First Time, the Heart (A Portrait of Life 1854-1913), which powerfully transforms the delicate pulse waves of early cardiography into a gallery of vanished souls, and the astral projections in such films as The Boundary of Life Is Quietly Crossed (2020)-the book reflects a decade of profound creative exploration and proposes new models for understanding research-based creative practice in visual culture studies.
“Dario Robleto’s work builds on foundations of research as deep as any scholar’s, but takes the form of beautiful, intricate objects that invite sustained contemplation. Our publication similarly emphasizes the aesthetic power of his art, while also matching its historical and philosophical rigor through contributions from top scholars and key collaborators across a spectrum of disciplines,” says Michael Metzger, publication editor and The Block’s Pick-Laudati Curator of Media Arts.
“We approached the design of The Heart’s Knowledge seeking to translate Robleto’s extraordinary attention to materiality, tactility, and clarity to book form. As in his artwork, every choice reflects intention and care, from the blind-embossed pulse wave that traverses the cover stocks, to the full-page details that demonstrate how Robleto’s work conveys grand ideas through the smallest elements.”
THE HEARTS KNOWLEDGE: SCIENCE AND EMPATHY IN THE ART OF DARIO ROBLETO
Published by The Block Museum of Art, Northwestern University with the McCormick School of Engineering
Distributed by ARTBOOK – DAP
ISBN: 978-1-64657-031-7, 160 pages, $39.99
Edited by Michael Metzger with contributions by Robert M. Brain, Daniel K. L. Chua, Patrick Feaster, Stefan Helmreich, Elizabeth A. Kessler, Julius B. Lucks, Michael Metzger, Elizabeth Kathleen Mitchell, Alexander Rehding, Jennifer L. Roberts, Dario Robleto, and Claire Isabel Webb
Produced by Lucia | Marquand, Seattle
Lisa Graziose Corrin and Julio Mario Ottino
Through Lines: Crossing Boundaries with Dario Robleto
Filaments: Sensitivity and Connection in the Work of Dario Robleto
Jennifer L. Roberts, Elizabeth Cary Agassiz Professor of the Humanities at Harvard University
The Shape of the Heart
Robert M. Brain, associate professor of history and science and technology studies at the University of British Columbia, Pick-Laudati Curator of Media Arts at the Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art at Northwestern University.
Dario Robleto’s Progress: The First Time, the Heart (A Portrait of Life 1854–1913), William Hogarth, and Line
Elizabeth Kathleen Mitchell, Burton and Deedee McMurtry Curator of Prints, Cantor Center for Visual Arts at Stanford University
The First Time, the Heart (A Portrait of Life 1854–1913)
Dario Robleto, artist
Dario Robleto’s Dissolving Views
Michael Metzger, Pick-Laudati Curator of Media Arts at the Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art at Northwestern University.
Voices, Hearts, and Playback
Patrick Feaster, specialist in the history, culture, and preservation of early time-based media, cofounder of the First Sounds Initiative
Roundtable on the Voyager Golden Record
Daniel K. L. Chua, Stefan Helmreich, Michael Metzger, Alexander Rehding, Jennifer L. Roberts, and Dario Robleto
More to Search Than Time Allows: Stillness and Wonder in Dario Robleto’s Gifts for Extraterrestrials
Elizabeth A. Kessler, author of Picturing the Cosmos: Hubble Space Telescope Images and the Astronomical Sublime (2012)
Reflexive Alienation: Pondering Cosmic Otherness with Dario Robleto
Claire Isabel Webb, USC-Fellow at the Berggruen Institute, author of Technologies of Perception
The Scientist and the Artist
Julius B. Lucks, professor of chemical and biological engineering at Northwestern University
“The Heart’s Knowledge”: Look Inside
We approached the design of The Heart’s Knowledge seeking to translate Robleto’s extraordinary attention to materiality, tactility, and clarity to book form. As in his artwork, every choice reflects intention and care, from the blind-embossed pulse wave that traverses the cover stocks, to the full-page details that demonstrate how Robleto’s work conveys grand ideas through the smallest elements.Michael Metzger, editor
“The Heart’s Knowledge”: Publication Foreward
The Block acknowledges with gratitude its partnership with Northwestern University’s Robert R. McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science, whose leadership support has made possible this exhibition, the associated publication, and the Artist-at-Large residency of Dario Robleto (2018-2023). The exhibition publication is also made possible in part by the Sandra L. Riggs Publications Fund.