JULIA CHRISTENSEN is an artist and writer whose work explores systems of technology, time, change, and memory. Her current investigation into technological “upgrade culture” has led her to collaborate with scientists at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab to envision artwork for a spacecraft that will travel to Proxima B, an exo-planet 4.2 lightyears from Earth. This spacecraft will have to upgrade itself autonomously in order to survive the 40-year journey, and also to remain relevant to life on Earth when it arrives at its destination.
Christensen has been awarded the Guggenheim Fellowship (Fine Arts, 2018), LACMA Art + Tech Lab Fellowship (2017-2018), Creative Capital Fellowship (Emerging Fields, 2013), MacDowell Fellowship (2015), and the Ohio Arts Council Individual Excellence Award (2015). She has been awarded artist residencies at the MacDowell Colony, Wexner Center for the Arts Film + Video Studio, and the Experimental Television Center. Her work has been exhibited at the Walker Art Center (Minneapolis, MN), Ronald Feldman Fine Arts Gallery (NYC, NY), Eyebeam (NYC, NY), Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland (Cleveland, OH), the Carnegie Museum of Art (Pittsburgh, PA), and internationally.
Christensen is the author of Big Box Reuse (MIT Press, 2008), a manifestation of her long-term art project about how communities are reusing abandoned Walmart and Kmart stores in the US. Big Box Reuse won several prestigious book awards, including the American Association of Academic Press’s Book of the Year Award in the category of trade non-fiction. Her forthcoming book, Upgrade Available (Dancing Foxes), is a product of her long-term art/research project about how “upgrade culture” impacts life on a range of scales.
Christensen’s work has been featured in publications such as The New York Times, New York Magazine, Bookforum, The New York Review of Books, Village Voice, and Art in America, and on radio shows such as All Things Considered (NPR), and On Point (NPR). She has spoken widely about her work at a range of venues, including Yale University, Columbia University, Carnegie Mellon University, Idea Festival, and the National Arts Club.
Christensen is Associate Professor of Integrated Media in the Studio Art Department at Oberlin College. She received her BA in Integrated Art at Bard College, MFA in Electronic Music and Recording Media at Mills College, and MFA in Integrated Electronic Arts at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.
Julia Christensen’s work has been included in the “Highbrow and Brilliant” quadrant of New York Magazine’s “Approval Matrix”; Make Zine recently said that “Christensen’s work is a stunning demonstration of the tremendous potential for creative expression using technologies we might otherwise throw away,”; The Washington Post said that “Christensen has seen the future.”