How many times have you upgraded your phone, laptop, or iPad in the past five years? Chances are you’ve done so at least once. Such upgrades can make us feel trendy — and less frustrated by suddenly slow devices that keeps begging for more updates. But how do all these cycles of new technology impact our daily lives? This is the driving question in Julia Christensen’s forthcoming book, Upgrade Available, published by Dancing Foxes Press.
Christensen, an artist and writer, has been studying the concept of “upgrade culture” for nearly a decade. Her approach has been multidisciplinary, as she’s worked with scientists, academics, artists, and activists to investigate the appalling proliferation of e-waste and consider the potential solutions to technological obsolescence.
She began her project by looking at the objects we accumulate in our homes, like VHS tapes, floppy disks, outdated batteries, and USB flash drives. But in 2017, when Christensen started her fellowship at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) Art + Technology Lab, she shifted her attention to “institutional operations,” including the obsolete technology “physically embedded in LACMA’s buildings.” The fellowship also led her to an unexpected collaboration with NASA scientists, who must consider how spaceships can remain relevant to Earth when traveling for dozens of years in space.
If, like me, you are eager to learn more, you’ll have the opportunity to join a Zoom conversation with the artist this Wednesday, April 22 at 4pm (PST) / 7pm (EST) — fittingly, on Earth Day. Christensen will be joined by Rhizome curator and editor Aria Dean and LACMA archivist Jessica Gambling. The talk will feature plenty of visuals and participants will have the chance to ask questions at the end.
This spring, ArtCenter and LACMA’s Art + Technology Lab were supposed to host an exhibition of the various art projects that have emerged from Christensen’s research. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the exhibition has been postponed, though the artworks will be shared online later this month. I’m particularly curious about one series in which she used discarded iPhones to create animations of “retired” constellations: stars that are no longer studied because we can’t see them due to light pollution. Check the Upgrade Available website for updates about the exhibition.
When: Wednesday, April 22, 4pm–5pm (PST) / 7pm–8pm (EST)
Where: Zoom (RSVP here)
More info at Zoom
Columbia University exhibition thwarts the de-politicization of postwar abstract art with a series of provocative questions.
Some 500 satirical guerilla billboard ads posted across Europe featured texts such as “#SayYesToTheEndOfTheWorld” and “Low Fares to Plastic island.”
Open to scholars, artists, curators, and writers, this new fellowship embraces the interdisciplinary spirit of a pioneering fiber artist and comes with a $30,000 stipend.
Despite his reportedly encyclopedic knowledge of the region’s geologic and mineral makeup, Heizer has displayed a baffling incuriousness about the larger story of the land he digs, cuts, and plows.
Using the pressures of adolescence and indoctrination of the church as a framework, Campbell captures the stress endured by young women and their bodies.
These virtual talks will share details on the MFA and M.Arch programs, alumni experiences, financial aid and fellowships, student life, and more.
The investigation represents the first step of a process to return the works to families and descendants of those who originally owned them.
The menial work, combined $17/hour pay, no benefits, and a lack of support from higher-ups has reportedly led to severe staff shortages.
This new kunsthaus in Potsdam shows modern and contemporary works of art from East Germany in what was once a terrace restaurant.
Eliza Naranjo Morse and Jamison Chas Banks envisioned Giving Growth as a response to the forced isolation brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Although Latinos represent 18.7% of the United States’s population as of the 2020 census, only 3.1% of lead roles in television shows feature them.
The museum and union have yet to agree on wages and healthcare.