On Wednesday morning I checked out the ZERO1 Biennial preview event at SFMOMA, one of many events of its kind happening worldwide. ZERO1, an arts organization focused on technology and media, produces the Bay Area-wide Biennial collaboration in the Fall – which will host an impressive collection of established and up-and-coming artists from 11 different countries, with 42 participating organizations. What does a Biennial entail, you ask? In ZERO1’s terms, it’s a giant showcase of artwork in tons of different forms. From more traditional visual art, multimedia installments and performance, to insane augmented reality apps, interactive art, and data-driven works – ZERO1 is all about creating a stronger link between art and technology. 


But as the Biennial’s curator, Jaime Austin says, the event is much more than a simple art showcase – it’s “part of a discourse” that elevates a deeper conversation between artists, collaborators, and the public. And if the turnout for the preview yesterday is any indication, the event is already working its magic – artists featured in the Biennial, partners of ZERO1, and press mingled, took advantage of SFMOMA’s Blue Bottle coffee bar, and munched on ZERO1’s clever logo cookies. 



The theme for this time around is “Seeking Silicon Valley”, an attempt to make the dull, uninteresting exterior of Silicon Valley match the innovation happening inside. Through installation art and media-driven works, the artists featured in the Biennial showcase media-driven themes of intellectual property and copywright (Stephanie Syjuco printed Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 from torrented files, with the url printed on their covers as titles) and the dot-com boom of the late '90s (photographer Michael Najjar’s mountainous chart below, the mountain's summit is the Internet's peak!).

01_nasdaq_80-09Michael Najjar, High Altitude, 2009


Though the event is focused on the Silicon Valley, there’s plenty of opportunities to check it out here in SF. SFMOMA will host a number of performances and installations – including Rafael Lozano-Hemmer’s Frequency and Volume – as will Southern Exposure. The Biennial runs from September 12th to December 8th, check out the schedule of events and mark your calendars.

Photos by Emily Turner