Zero1 Biennial Review

So I attended the Zero1 Biennial main exhibit.  If you’re not familiar with it, its an every-two year exhibit run by the Zero1 network a group that promotes arts in Silicon Valley.  The theme this year was “Seeking Silicon Valley”, so the theme was even more techno-artistic.

The short theme of my review?  Go, both as a geek and as a progeek.  But if you want more details . . .

The art exhibits are essentially about Silicon Valley, interpretation, and technology, so there’s a strong theme of art meeting science.  There’s a variety of exhibits, and you’ll want to take a look around first, because you have to settle into the “feel” of the place to get it.

So perhaps you observe a glove onto which were grafted found objects, all representing the devices an iPhone replaces.

Or you may take note of the stock market of the last decade or two remapped and photo manipulated into a mountain range.

You might enjoy the “internet tunnel” where a Kinnect helps you reach out to people at other exhibits.

Or marvel at an artistic mapping of corporate bus service in San Francisco.

Now all of these are interesting on their own, and some are amazingly or even disturbingly creative (such as a project to speed human decomposition via mushrooms that focuses on us rethinking death).  The space is well-laid out and airy, and the staff is helpful. Sometimes the artists are even there to comment.

The magic happens when you start connecting the dots.

The exhibits help you see silicon valley, technology, and yourself differently.  You begin thinking, you begin seeing different.  Indeed I had a series of revelations about how art is a form of data mapping, how my data mapping could be done better, and further analyzed what a book truly is.

After awhile you get the point.

Art helps us view things differently.  Art helps inspire us.  Art helps direct us.  Art shocks us into thinking.  Art makes us move mentally.

Now when you combine art with technology and the very heart of the technosphere, indeed the place that is almost archetypically “technology”, then you have a very powerful experience.  Then you see why art matters to technology.

Then you see why I want you to go.  Or at least visit the webpages.

For us pro geeks, this kind of exhibit, these kinds of art are very important:

  1. It gives us ideas of how to take our interests into careers in different ways.
  2. Many of us being technical can re-envision our relationship to technology.
  3. It will shift our perspectives on the technology and media we use.
  4. It may give us new ideas to use in our careers (really, I am now rethinking data visualization for Project Management based on some exhibits).

So, in the end?  Worth going for anyone into technology and creativity.

Worth going for anyone like us.

– Steven Savage

Steven Savage is a Geek 2.0 writer, speaker, blogger, and job coach.  He blogs on careers at, nerd and geek culture at, and does a site of creative tools at He can be reached at