Quantopia: The Evolution of the internet

A Multimedia Hip Hop Concert Experience About the History and Exponential Growth of the Internet, Commissioned by The Internet Archive

QUANTOPIA World Premiere
January 25, 2019 at 7:30pm
Yerba Buena Center for the Arts
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Composed and performed by Paul D. Miller aka DJ Spooky

Visual design by Greg Niemeyer

Additional visual design by MEDIUMLABS and Roger Antonsen

Featuring Classical Revolution and San Francisco Girls Chorus, conducted by Valérie Sainte-Agathe

QUANTOPIA, defined as the utopia of quantification —the dream that we can count, measure, and weigh everything and reach a perfect understanding of the world despite its paradoxes— brings new, fresh perspectives on the 50-year evolution of information technology. Philosopher Marshall McLuhan said that the new media “works us over completely. It is so pervasive in its personal, political, economic, aesthetic, psychological, moral, ethical, and social consequences that it leaves no part of us untouched, unaffected, un-altered.”

Teaming up with The Internet Archive and data artist Greg Niemeyer, composer and multimedia artist Paul D. Miller aka DJ Spooky created QUANTOPIA, an hour-long multi-sensory journey illuminating ever-present issues of inclusion and exclusion, echo chambers and small-world phenomena. A celebration of the history of the Internet, QUANTOPIA is a tribute to the depth and high stakes of free speech and creative expression involved in our daily use of media.

The Internet Archive commissioned work by DJ Spooky is among the first 10 recipients of the Hewlett 50 Arts Commission funded by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, an $8 million commissioning initiative that is the largest of its kind in the United States.

Presented in association with YBCA, and produced by Sozo Artists with additional support from Sozo Impact.


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QUANTOPIA COLLABORATORS

Paul D. Miller aka DJ Spooky (creator and composer) is a composer, multimedia artist and writer whose work immerses audiences in a blend of genres, global culture, and environmental and social issues. Miller’s work has appeared in the Whitney Biennial; The Venice Biennial for Architecture; the Ludwig Museum in Cologne; Kunsthalle, Vienna; The Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh, the Miami/Art Basel fair, and many other museums and galleries. Miller’s award-winning book “Rhythm Science” was published by MIT Press 2004, and was followed by “Sound Unbound,” an anthology about electronic music and digital media, in 2008. “The Book of Ice”, an experiential visual and acoustic portrait of the Antarctic, was published in 2011 by Random House. “The Imaginary App”, Miller’s fourth book, was published by MIT Press in 2014. Miller has collaborated with a vast array of artists, ranging from Metallica to Chuck D; Steve Reich to Yoko Ono. His large scale, multimedia performance pieces include “Rebirth of a Nation,” “Terra Nova: Sinfonia Antarctica,” which was commissioned by the Brooklyn Academy of Music for the Next Wave Festival 2009, and “Seoul Counterpoint”, written during his residency at Seoul Institute of the Arts in 2014. Miller was the first Artist in Residence at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, where he premiered his work “A Civil War Symphony” in 2013. In 2014, Miller was named a National Geographic Emerging Explorer, an honor  recognizing visionaries at the forefront of global problem solving. sozoartists.com/djspooky

Greg Niemeyer (visual designer and video director) Data Artist, New Media Specialist - Born in Switzerland, Gregory Niemeyer studied Classics and Photography. He started working with new media when he arrived in the San Francisco Bay Area in 1992. He received his MFA from Stanford University in New Media in 1997. At the same time, he founded the Stanford University Digital Art Center. In 2001 he was appointed at UC Berkeley as a Professor for New Media in Art Practice. He co-founded and directed the Center for New Media, focusing on the critical analysis of the impact of new media on human experiences. His current work focuses on mediations between individuals, communities and environments: When do technologies dehumanize us, and when do they help us deepen human experiences? gregniemeyer.com

MEDIUMLABS (visual design) is a Virtual Reality production company located in downtown Boulder, Colorado that specializes in creating virtual and augmented reality apps, incredible 360º video, augmented reality video installations, mixed reality videos, and cutting-edge experiences. mediumlabs.com

Roger Antonsen (visual design) is Associate Professor at the Department of Informatics, University of Oslo, Visiting Scholar at UC Berkeley, California, TED speaker, author, artist, science communicator, and PhD in computer science.

Classical Revolution (string quartet) was founded in the fall of 2006 with the goal of making classical chamber more relevant in our neighborhoods and communities. After a successful first year of weekly shows at Revolution Cafe in San Francisco’s Mission District, the organization began to receive invitations to perform at other local venues including Amnesia and the Red Poppy Art House – soon to be followed by the Legion of Honor and de Young Museum, and then places like Yoshi’s SF and Herbst Theater. In its 10th anniversary year, Classical Revolution undertook a cycle of Beethoven’s 9 Symphonies, performed at venues around San Francisco including Folsom Street Foundry, de Young Museum, Fort Mason’s Cowell Theater, and a performance of the 9th Symphony at Grace Cathedral in front of a 1000 person audience. classicalrevolution.org

San Francisco Girls Chorus (chorus) Now in its 40th season, the five-time GRAMMY Award-winning San Francisco Girls Chorus (SFGC) is one of the nation’s leading youth arts organizations. Under the leadership of Artistic Director Valérie Sainte-Agathe, SFGC regularly presents an acclaimed local subscription series, travels across the country and around the world as a cultural ambassador for San Francisco, and collaborates with leading arts organizations including Kronos Quartet, San Francisco Symphony, San Francisco Opera, New Century Chamber Orchestra, and San Francisco Film Festival. Recent concert highlights include debut performances at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. with The Knights and Carnegie Hall with the Philip Glass Ensemble. In February 2018, SFGC released Final Answer, its newest album featuring Kronos Quartet on Philip Glass’ Orange Mountain Music label. More information on SFGC’s concert activities and acclaimed Chorus School for girls and young women ages 4 to 18 can be found at sfgirlschorus.org.

Sozo Artists, Inc. (producer) is an international creative arts agency delivering fresh, accessible and unforgettable experiences to engage and enlighten audiences. Sozo empowers groundbreaking, risk-taking artists of the highest caliber and develops creative content relevant in today’s dynamic, diverse world. By building artistic and cultural bridges through bold, perspective-changing works, Sozo aims to catalyze the possibility of a trusting and understanding society into a reality. Sozo offices are located in New York City, Oakland, CA and Los Angeles, CA. sozoartists.com

The Internet Archive (commissioner) is a non-profit digital library founded by Brewster Kahle in 1996 with the mission to provide “Universal access to all Knowledge.”  The organization seeks to preserve the world’s cultural heritage and to provide open access to our shared knowledge in the digital era, supporting the work of historians, scholars, journalists, students, the blind and reading disabled, as well as the general public.  The Internet Archive’s digital collections include more than 45 petabytes of data: 330 billion web pages, moving images (2.8 million films and videos), audio (4.5 million recordings, 180,000 live concerts), texts (20 million texts including 3.5 million digital books), software (200,000 items) and television ( 3 million hours). Each day, more than one million visitors use or contribute to the Archive, making it one of the world’s top 250 sites. The Internet Archive is creating new models for digital conservation by forging alliances with more than 600 libraries, universities and national archives around the world. The Internet Archive champions the public benefit of online access to our cultural heritage and the import of adopting open standards for its preservation, discovery and presentation. archive.org

The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation is a nonpartisan, private charitable foundation that advances ideas and supports institutions to promote a better world. For more than 50 years, the foundation has supported efforts to advance education for all, preserve the environment, improve lives and livelihoods in developing countries, promote the health and economic well-being of women, support vibrant performing arts, strengthen Bay Area communities, and make the philanthropy sector more effective. The foundation’s Performing Arts Program makes grants to sustain artistic expression and encourage public engagement in the arts in the San Francisco Bay Area, to give California students equal access to an education rich in the arts, and to provide necessary resources to help organizations and artists be effective in their work.

Yerba Buena Center for the Arts YBCA is one of the nation’s most innovative arts institutions. Founded in 1993 as the cultural anchor of San Francisco’s Yerba Buena Gardens development, YBCA’s work spans the realms of contemporary art, civic engagement, and public life. By using culture as an instrument for social change, YBCA is reimagining the role an arts institution can play in the community it serves.