California College of Art Spring 2008

Vapor is the subject matter, medium and metaphor for work being undertaken by contemporary artists today around the San Francisco region and beyond, a generation and a zeitgeist invested in activism and inspired to action by our changing air conditions and their potentials for vision. While both air pollution and activist art have been around for many years, each have undergone changes in recent times that serve to mark difference within a region that has long served as a home to environmentalism, activist culture and to technological innovation around both of these. Technological  innovation is a particularly interesting aspect to recent “environmentally activist” art, since artists are now making use of equipment – sensors, monitors, communications equipment – that has until recently been out of reach to anyone outside of a laboratory environment. This recent history has some kinship to the emergence of video art in the late 1960s and its growth as accessibility to gear grew under the aegis of consumer electronics. In this sense, the title “Vapor” also refers to the growing ubiquity of the means by which this art is being produced, in addition to the ubiquity of greenhouse gases and other air conditions that serve as this art’s medium. This advanced interdisciplinary studio will study some of that work and use it as a launching point for projects of our own. The work will delve deeply into understanding air pollution, its origins and results; as well as the places where artistic and design response can intervene.