Today I wanted to go where no one I knew had been so I travelled to see “* Tech Tools of the Trade: Contemporary New Media Art” closes June 28 at the de Saisset Museum in Santa Clara, California.

This is an excellent museum although I only took time today to view the ground floor. The artists are using what is today often referred to as New Media and incorporate a multitude of approaches and media within this category.

I will list all of the artists and part of the curatorial statement (the exhibtion was curated by Kathy Aoki and the museum and as I understand it, many of her current students) at the end of this dicourse along with multiple links.

But now, on towards the artworks.

One very inventive piece was the work by christine wong yap titled Dark into Light, 2008, mixed media installation: 100 night lights, par can, spot bulb, 10 x 10 x 8 feet. Swarm Gallery. She has used multiple light-sensitive nightlights that you can purchase from almost any hardware store (Duchamp?) and has arranged a large flood that when you step in front, your shadow causes lights to go on and then off again as you move. These create multiple and random patterns.

Here is an image from her blog

Dark into Light  by Christine Wong Yap

Dark into Light by Christine Wong Yap

Another work that I came into contact with and spent a large amount of time in front of was
titled Accent Elimination. The artist nina katchadourian places 6 televisions (I spent time with three) that carry on a conversation with each other related to identity. It was a fantastic experience when they all began to speak at once. A moving work from the artist’s personal experience.


“Six televisions, three pedestals, six-channel video (three synchronized programs and three loops), headphones and benches, 2005”

Here is an image from Nina’ blog that shows the setup:

nina kathadourian: Accent Elimination 2005

nina kathadourian: Accent Elimination 2005

Other works on view are by Scott Killdall (“May I Take Your Picture?”) who has exhibted also at SF Camerawork, San Francisco and Mission 17, San Francisco, California that I enjoyed because they spotlighted the self consciousness one has when their photo is being taken, some more than others for ex. me!
and Sherry Carver from her from Surveillance Series 2007 who exhibtis her lightbox images of x-rayed suitcases, filled with all of the things we are afraid of when we fly.

Last to mention but by far not the least is Jim Campbell
whose work I have been a fan of for a very long time. I cannot find an image of the work online and the de Saisset Museum allowed no photographs of these contemporary works but he is represented by Hosfelt Gallery in SF (SOMA). If you are unfamiliar with his works, this one has similarities – could we say it is his signature style?- monochromatic/white to black, LED lightbox with resin and other mixed media according to the label. Figures are seen but beome abstracted motions. How this reminds me of giacometti?

see what you think!



and below is Jim Campbell’s work:

Jim Campbell, work at de Saisset Museum

Jim Campbell, work at de Saisset Museum

It states in the label Jim Campbell is working with ‘extracting meaning’ from our perceptions. For more information one can call 408.228.8127 and when retrieving the phone tour, the Jim Campbell selection is 10 # (push 10 then the # sign).

The phone tour, by the way, is a very nice touch!

So here is the information on the exhibition in South Bay, you have only 2.5 weeks left to get there!


“* Tech Tools of the Trade: Contemporary New Media Art
April 17-June 28, 2009

Museum Hours: Tuesday through Sunday, 11-4pm, unless otherwise indicated.
Please call 408.554.4528 before visiting to confirm Museum schedule. Admission to
exhibitions is always free.”

“The new-media artists in this exhibition adopt current technologies such as online
colonies and marketplaces, digital video cameras, and security X-ray machines to achieve
their artwork. Some artists in the exhibition comment on technology with low-tech
presentations, while others use sophisticated equipment solely to achieve their conceptual
goals. As technology becomes more pervasive in our lives, the artists respond in kind—
either as users of the technology or as commentators.
Tech Tools of the Trade includes the works of Jim Campbell, Anthony Discenza,
Rodney Ewing, Martha Gorzycki, Lynn Hershman, Sherry Karver, Nina
Katchadourian, Scott Kildall, Andrew Kleindolph, Jill Miller, James Morgan,
Deborah Oropallo, Trevor Paglen, Alan Rath, Jackie Sumell, Stephanie Syjuco, Gail
Wight, and Christine Wong Yap.” (from