“If he’s a sometimes luddite, let him find solace in artist Julia Christensen’s Upgrade Available, a new output from Dancing Foxes Press. The book calls into question our eagerness to constantly update our personal technology and how this thirst is interfering with our relationship to time. It’s charming and eerie.”
For LAABF 2020, Dancing Foxes Press planned to launch “Upgrade Available,” by artist and writer Julia Christensen, whose work redefines the intersection of art, technology, and outer space. The volume documents an ongoing investigation by Christensen into “upgrade culture”—the notion that we need to constantly upgrade our electronics to remain relevant—and how this shifts our perception of time. In this video, Christensen explains the inspiration, encounters, and process of making this new book. [Video footage from Upgrade Available: Live and Illustrated, produced by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art / Art + Tech Lab, April 2020].
For artist Julia Christensen, one man’s junk—or more accurately e-waste—is not necessarily another’s treasure. Indeed, as her upcoming retrospective “Julia Christensen: Upgrade Available” proves, the legacy of discarded goods is one of humanity’s most unwelcome gifts.
Upgrade Available: Live and Illustrated On Earth Day, LACMA hosts a virtual presentation of artist Julia Christensen’s latest project, Upgrade Available. She’ll be in conversation with artist and curator Aria Dean and LACMA archivist Jessica Gambling. The event will be illustrated with images, videos and writings from the project and book of the same name, exploring how “upgrade culture” impacts our experience of time.
“Meanwhile, the US-based artist Julia Christensen surveys how humans are increasingly changing the Earth in a virtual conference hosted by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (Lacma) with Rhizome curator Aria Dean and museum archivist Jessica Gambling. Discussing the artist’s forthcoming book Upgrade Available, a multimedia project and (now virtual) exhibition of the same title, the speakers will explore how “upgrade culture”—a term Christensen has coined to describe the cultural phenomenon in which humans have developed an insatiable urge to modernise their electronics—permeates our personal lives and reshapes the environment.”
Christensen, an artist and writer, has been studying the concept of “upgrade culture” for nearly a decade. Her approach has been multidisciplinary, as she’s worked with scientists, academics, artists, and activists to investigate the appalling proliferation of e-waste and consider the potential solutions to technological obsolescence.
The opening of Julia Christensen’s solo show, co-presented by ArtCenter and LACMA’s Art + Technology Lab, has been postponed, but the writer and artist is giving an online presentation about her forthcoming book, Upgrade Available, this week. The book (as well as her project with the lab) explores how “upgrade culture”—the constant pressure to update our electronic devices—informs our sense of the passage of time.