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.
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.
One hundred years ago, Phoenix had fewer residents than Apache Junction today. Transportation was still primarily by horseback, although the steam locomotive had made a big difference. There wasn’t a single high-rise on the Valley horizon back then. Yet over the next century, the region will be transformed even more radically. Visit the Deep Time Photo Lab to see into the future – and change what will happen beyond your own lifespan. Laboratory director Jonathon Keats will show you how to make a camera with a hundred-year-long exposure, for you to hide in the city, invisibly monitoring changes to the urban landscape between now and 2115. You might think of your camera as a black box that monitors local building decisions, making everyone alive today accountable to Arizonans not yet born. Or you may think of it as a collaboration with future generations on choices and values that will provide for the greater good. Either way, this is your chance to take part in the century ahead. Attendees of Emerge 2115 are depending on your participation.