Features & Columns

ZERO1 Biennial Returns With Expanded Reach

Silicon Valley Based Festival Merges Art and Technology Throughout the Bay Area.
ZERO1 Biennial Returns

THE OBITS for lyricist Hal David, who passed away Sept. 1, didn't dwell too long on his double-edged sword of a song "Do You Know the Way to San Jose." The 1968 Dionne Warwick hit put the city on the map by implying that people needed to be told where it was.

In the decades since, San Jose has proclaimed itself the Capital of Silicon Valley. It doesn't help, however, that the San Francisco Chronicle is busy running articles abrogating the "capital" idea; just this Sunday, it started a opinion-section essay with the loaded question: "Is the Bay Area's innovative center of gravity shifting away from suburban Silicon Valley to urban San Francisco?"

Jaime Austin, the lead curator for the ZERO1 Biennial, which begins Wednesday, Sept. 12, recalls a telling anecdote about how the festival's theme—"Seeking Silicon Valley"—arose.

Picking up an out-of-town guest at the airport, Austin asked, "What do you want to do?" The reply was disarmingly simple, yet confounding: "I want to see Silicon Valley." Austin took her visitor on a drive-by tour of the eBay sign, the Googleplex and the tech headquarters on Sandhill Road. The result, she says, "was one of excitement and disappointment." Landmarks can't define a fluid, shifting identity.

Austin believes that "Seeking Silicon Valley" avoids the geographical trap by "evoking a process, an active state that is more important than what is found." The Biennial's participants, coming from more than 13 countries, have been tasked with the idea of putting art to work in order to capture the slippery heart of high tech.

Although centered in San Jose's SoFA District, ZERO1 extends its web to San Francisco and the East Bay, running for three months, with tech-driven shows, performances, lectures and public art. We have selected 10 that deserve special attention, while Gary Singh examines ZERO1's own version of garage culture. (Full Disclosure: Metro is a media sponsor of ZERO1.)

Ten Reasons to Zero In on ZERO1
From September 12 until December 8, the ZERO1 Biennial merges art and technology in Silicon Valley and throughout the Bay Area. Here are our top 10 picks to zero in on for the event.

ZERO1 Biennial Garage
ZERO1's ground zero is located in a converted garage in the SoFA District.

Lighting the Way
CADRE students at SJSU help construct an illuminated wall of self-definition for ZERO1.