Acclaimed as a ”poet of ideas” by The New Yorker and a “multimedia philosopher” by The Atlantic, Jonathon Keats is an artist, writer and experimental philosopher based in San Francisco and Northern Italy. His conceptually-driven interdisciplinary projects explore all aspects of society through science and technology. In recent years, he has installed a camera with a thousand-year- long exposure – documenting the long-term effects of climate change – at Arizona State University; opened a photosynthetic restaurant serving gourmet sunlight to plants at the Crocker Art Museum; exhibited extraterrestrial abstract artwork decoded from Arecibo Observatory radiotelescope data at the Judah L. Magnes Museum; applied quantum mechanics to banking – coaxing money into a quantum superposition to be shared by everyone – at Rockefeller Center; and attempted to genetically engineer God in collaboration with scientists at the UC Berkeley. Exhibited internationally, Keats’s projects have been documented by PBS, Reuters, and the BBC World Service, garnering favorable attention in periodicals ranging from Science to Flash Art to The Economist. In recent years, he has lectured at institutions including UC Berkeley, Stanford University, The Long Now Foundation, and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), which recently awarded him a 2015-16 Art + Technology Lab Grant. His latest book, You Belong to the Universe: Buckminster Fuller and the Future has recently been published by Oxford University Press, which also published his previous book, Forged: Why Fakes Are the Great Art of Our Age. He is represented by Modernism Gallery in San Francisco.
Food security is a global concern, and a cross-species challenge. Even the most successful survival strategies may lose effectiveness in the radically altered environmental conditions of the Anthropocene. For photosynthetic organisms, food security depends on the availability of sunlight, which could be significantly diminished by factors including air pollution and solar radiation management. At Emerge, experimental philosopher Jonathon Keats will address these challenges by developing alternative energy sources for Arizona succulents, ranging from wind to nuclear power. A practical exploration of technologies that might benefit plants, his project is also a provocation to rethink our approach to the present environmental crisis.
Today Google and Amazon provide countless corporations with cloud-based infrastructure solutions to achieve a greater level of efficiency and optimization. Yet government remains stuck in the physical realm, dependent on flesh-and-blood politicians. To confront the challenges of political gridlock, bureaucratic corruption, and unreliable officials, experimental philosopher Jonathon Keats is developing Democracy-as-a-Service, which augments principles as old as the Founding Fathers with 21st century computer science and biotechnology. In the tradition of The Great Exhibition of 1851, where one of the earliest automated voting systems was first displayed, Keats will showcase his new balloting system at the 2017 Emerge Festival.
Build a pinhole camera with a 100-year exposure time to hide somewhere in the Phoenix area, invisibly monitoring changes in the urban landscape between now and 2115.