Zero1 Launches Ambitious ‘Seeking Silicon Valley’ Arts Festival


ZERO1, the biennial arts and technology festival, announced a massive expansion in its program this year, with more than 100 arts installations Bay Area wide and 40 arts museums, galleries, and studios taking part. The theme this year is “Searching for Silicon Valley.”

The announcement of this year’s program was made at SFMOMA, which is one of many arts organizations that will take part in this year’s festival.

Jaime Austin, Curator and Director of Programs for ZERO1, said that the idea for the theme”Seeking Silicon Valley” came from her experiences from meeting visiting artists at the airport and their wish to see Silicon Valley.

“I would drive them around to the eBay campus, and Yahoo! but there’s nothing much to see, the architecture is like a business park, nothing to distinguish Silicon Valley from anywhere.”

“I also realized that Silicon Valley is as much an idea as it is a place, and that people from all over the world have their idea of Silicon Valley.”

She has partnered with curators from South Korea, London, Amsterdam and Berlin, to help bring together a broad range of artistic opinions on the topic of “Silicon Valley.”

I also spoke with Ben Davis, founder of creative agency Words Pictures Ideas, and the mastermind behind the Bay Lights project, an ambitious $8 million arts project that is part of ZERO1’s program. It will create a light sculpture 500 feet high and 1.5 miles long.



“We’ve raised $5 million so far, we are getting close,” he said. “There’s quite a bit of technology in the project, we’re trying to figure out how to make 25,000 LED lights stretch to make large pixels.”

Here is a video of what it will look like:

SVW will be highlighting artists and installations featured at Zero1 over the coming weeks leading up to the opening in San Jose September 12.

Here are some more details:

ZERO1 Biennial, a dynamic network of more than 100 exhibitions, performances, public art projects and panels that will spread from Silicon Valley throughout the Bay Area and beyond from September 12 through December 8.

Exploring the theme “Seeking Silicon Valley,” the 2012 ZERO1 Biennial, with over 40 new and returning partners, including the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Berkeley Art Museum, UC Berkeley’s Center for New Media, and Stanford’s Center for Creativity and the Arts, will showcase the work of scores of contemporary artists at the forefront of new media, some collaborating with iconic Silicon Valley companies.

They include such leading figures as:

• Digital artist and designer Jer Thorp.

• Multimedia installation artists Lynn Hershman Leeson, Shu Lea Cheang and Stephanie Syjuco.

• British director and “experience designer” Nelly Ben Hayoun, who’s commissioned work is NASA-inspired.

• German photographer Michael Najjar.

• The international artists’ collective Manifest.AR, which uses mobile augmented reality apps that prompt participants to re-imagine the corporate campuses and products of Silicon Valley.

• Mexican-born media artist Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, whose interactive video and sound work Frequency and Volume will be on view at SFMOMA as part of the Biennial.


Tom Foremski
Tom Foremski is the Editor and Founder of the popular and top-ranked news site Silicon Valley Watcher, reporting on business and culture of innovation. He is a former journalist at the Financial Times and in 2004, became the first journalist from a leading newspaper to resign and become a full-time journalist blogger.

Tom has been reporting on Silicon Valley and the US tech industry since 1984 and has been named as one of the top 50 (#28) most influential bloggers in Silicon Valley. His current focus is on the convergence of media and technology — the making of a new era for Silicon Valley. He also writes a column at ZDNET.
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