Thursday, March 5, 2009

Introduction from Julia Christensen

Hi everyone,

Glad to be in conversation with all of you. My name is Julia Christensen, and I am an artist/writer/musician/teacher living in the plains of Ohio. I am professor of the “emerging arts” at Oberlin College and Conservatory. When people ask me what my job title means, I generally say that my courses explore the hybrid forms of art-making that emerge from experiments and crossovers between disciplines, naturally. Furthermore, I am interested in promoting the emergence of art and creativity amongst my students across their traditional academic silos. With creative and artistic environmental scientists, chemists, geographers, and economists around––working together with our artists, filmmakers, composers, and writers––a compelling future is within our reach. I have a joint appointment between the College and the music Conservatory here at Oberlin, and my classes often are cross-listed between Environmental Studies, Art, and Electronic Music.

My work straddles the lines between art and research, electronic and non-electronic, audience and performer, and I work across media (film, photo, net, sound, installation, etc). I have been working on a long-term project about the reuse of abandoned big box stores in the United States since 2002. This project intends to raise a platform for people to talk and think critically about the impacts of this sort of construction on our communities and the future development of our cities and towns. The image I posted is of the Spam Museum, a corporate museum in a renovated Kmart building in Austin, MN.

A few other projects:
UnBox: I recently built a 1500 sf structure called the UnBox, which is modular and folds up into a box 9x5x5 feet in size. It is made of locally milled wood, and locally sourced materials, and I never stepped foot inside a big box building in order to construct the UnBox. It is part of my traveling solo exhibition, Your Town Inc., which premiered at the Miller Gallery at Carnegie Mellon last fall (curated by Astria Suparak).

Rust Belt/Bayou: Last year I completed a net art project called Rust Belt/Bayou, a net art commission from Turbulence. It explores the aural landscapes of Cleveland and New Orleans.

Land Arts in an Electronic Age: A course at Oberlin exploring how artists connect with and interpret the landscape in a post-digital world. Matt Coolidge and I took the students on a field trip to Gary, Indiana for several days as a part of this class, and the work the students produced ranged from sound installations to interactive maps to video pieces to dance performances.

Some links:

My website:
List of recent works:
Big Box Reuse project site:
Big Box Reuse Book:
Rust Belt/Bayou:
Land Arts in an Electronic Age:
WAM! Women and Art Music Ensemble:
Your Town Inc:

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