Zero1 San Jose: High Tech Art Utopia
The 01SJ Biennial brings artists and techies together to create a new world.
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by Gary Singh on Sep 15, 2010
The 2010 01SJ Biennial rightly cements San Jose and Silicon Valley among the destinations for global contemporary art gatherings.
For more than 20 years now, new-media art fests have emerged on several continents, addressing key issues in the overlapping fields of art, science, critical theory, digital media and cultural studies. Ars Electronica in Linz, Austria, is the oldest, and similar festivals take place from Brazil to Japan to India. But there has never been a definitive equivalent in the United States, which is why everyone involved with 01SJ says it will become the North American model.
For 2010, the 01SJ Biennial arrives with an ambitious theme: “Build Your Own World.” With that premise in mind, more than 100 art installations and dozens of commissioned works, plus exhibitions, workshops, musical performances and a high-tech street fair, will take over downtown San Jose through Sunday night, with some events carrying on beyond.
For those preferring the kind of art that occupies a museum or a gallerylike space, plenty of themed exhibits are currently running in conjunction with the biennial. Tech-related works to coincide with 01SJ can be seen at the San Jose Museum of Art, the Museum of Quilts and Textiles, the San Jose Institute of Contemporary Art, MACLA, Anno Domini, WORKS/San Jose, the Thompson Gallery at SJSU, Santana Row and even Mineta San Jose Airport.
Attendees more suited to participatory events—like narrative cell phone games or bicycle rides with inflatable suits—can also participate. “Out of the Garage Into the World” features several works blurring the boundaries between art and research, with the public invited to join in.
All projects, in one way or another, envision and imagine what the future might look like, and especially, how to begin building that future today.
Opening Ceremonies: Plug-in-Play
San Jose City Hall, Thursday, Sept. 16, 7–9pm
Each 01SJ Biennial features some sort of transformation of the Richard Meier–designed San Jose City Hall. This year, David Rockwell and the Rockwell Group Lab (stage designers for the last two Academy Awards) will turn the portion of City Hall housing the elevator shaft into a multifaceted interactive experience for the opening ceremonies.
South First Street between San Carlos and Reed, Friday, Sept. 17, 5pm–midnight
This night is the crème-de-la-crème of the entire weekend and it goes on for hours. More than 100 artists will set up shop on the pavement and sidewalks of South First Street in order to exhibit their art, music and scientific ideas. Free and open to everyone, there will be high-tech crafts, experiments, philosophies, extractions, contractions, contraptions, immersions, acts, miracles on wheels, street shows, interactive games, behaviors, robots and more.
Out of the Garage Into the World
The entire 80,000-square-foot South Hall (the blue-and-white bunker-shaped tent behind the McEnery