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Artist Chris Johnson Creating New Interactive Work The Wisdom Arc Time Machine

For Immediate Release:
October 01, 2013

Media Available
Jenny Slafkosky (415) 528-4367

Artist Chris Johnson Creating New Interactive Work The Wisdom Arc Time Machine

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/

Hours of Operation & New Evening Hours
Tuesday-Sunday 10am-5pm;  every Thursday evening adults only (ages 18 and up) 6pm-10pm.

$29 for adults, with lower rates for SF Bay Area residents, youth, seniors, students, teachers and the disabled. Tickets available at the door and advance tickets available online at www.exploratorium.edu/visit/tickets.

Getting Here
The Exploratorium is easily accessible by public transit. Convenient parking is available nearby. For more information, visit www.exploratorium.edu/visit/location-directions

About the Exploratorium
The Exploratorium is the global leader in informal learning, igniting curiosity and inspiring creativity in people of all ages. The world-renowned science museum creates original, interactive exhibits, on display at more than 1,000 science centers, museums and public spaces around the world. Dedicated to education reform in and out of the classroom, the Exploratorium is a premier professional development center for educators and a creator of award-winning educational resources. Since 1969, the Exploratorium has influenced generations of entrepreneurs, artists, scientists, teachers, students, children, museum professionals and everyday doers, reaching nearly 180 million people annually from around the globe. On April 17, 2013, the Exploratorium opened at Pier 15 in the heart of San Francisco's Embarcadero, where it will celebrate a new era of experiences that encourage critical thinking and awaken wonder for generations to come. For more information, visit www.exploratorium.edu/visit.

Pier 15
San Francisco
California 94111
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Contact Us:
Jenny Slafkosky (415) 528-4367