Johnson is Artist-in-Residence at Exploratorium mid-August through September 2013
What would you say to your younger self that could potentially change the course of your life? Bay Area artist Chris Johnson will be in residence at the Exploratorium from mid-August through the end of September 2013, creating a new interactive work called The Wisdom Arc Time Machine. Working in collaboration with data visualizer Eric Doversberger, The Wisdom Arc allows visitors to explore a provocative question:
“If you could send one short message to yourself at any age in your past with the wisdom you've gained at your present age, what would that message be?”
At The Wisdom Arc, participants enter an imaginative landscape where they can communicate with their younger selves and share something fundamental or powerful that they’ve learned in intervening years.
Johnson—whose multimedia installation Question Bridge: Black Males is on display at the museum—has already begun prototyping The Wisdom Arc, and people have replied with deeply personal contributions ranging from the philosophical to the humorous.
A 63-year old woman wrote to her 30-year old self:
“You don't have to pretend to be someone else. Don't be afraid to show your true self and people will appreciate you for who you are.”
But then there's the 45-year old man who told himself at 30:
“Don't buy condoms at the Dollar Store.”
The installation includes two stations that will allow visitors to send their advice back in time. Messages will be collected and visualized as a graphic arc and displayed on a high definition monitor in the Exploratorium’s West Gallery, a space designed to allow visitors to investigate the nature of being human and the interplay between science, society, and culture.
About Chris Johnson
Chris Johnson studied photography with Ansel Adams, Imogen Cunningham and Wynn Bullock and has been the recipient of grants from the Rockefeller Foundation (w/Hank Willis Thomas); AICA Mellon Foundation Grant for Photography and Polaroid Foundation Artist Grants. In 1994, he co-produced and directed “The Roof is on Fire” with Suzanne Lacy, which was broadcast on KRON. His fine art photography has been widely exhibited and published and is in the collections of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Smithsonian Institution, the Oakland Museum, and the Center For Creative Photography, Tucson, AZ. Additionally, he authored “The Practical Zone System: for Film and Digital Photography,” currently in its 5th edition. Johnson is a full Professor of Photography at the California College of the Arts where for ten years he served as President of the Faculty Senate. From 1997–2000 he was Director of the Mother Jones International Fund for Documentary Photography. From 1999–2003, Chris was Chair of the City of Oakland Cultural Affairs Commission. He also conceived of and served as Project Manager for the Media Wall in Terminal 2 of the Oakland International Airport. http://www.chrisjohnsonphotographer.com/