Beta Space: Trevor Paglen

  • Photo by Frederick Liang.

    Beta Space: Trevor Paglen will feature the artist’s first sound piece, a new public commission titled, There Will Come Soft Rains (2021), installed in SJMA’s historic clocktower and resounding into the streets of downtown San José on the hour from 8am–8pm, as well as sunrise, solar noon, and sunset. The year-long installation opens on First Friday, November 5, 2021 and will be up through October 29, 2023.

    For the seventh installation of the Museum’s ongoing “Beta Space” series, a commissioning program that offers artists opportunities to experiment with and exhibit new ideas, materials, and modes of working, Paglen investigates the triangulation between sound, time, and truth. Several times a day, Paglen’s sound piece will emanate real-time temporal and environmental facts. Beginning with the current time and weather, a voice synthesizer reads dynamically generated text from “official” data sets like satellite navigation systems, the UN critically endangered species list, and Cal Fire updates. Resonating through the streets, aural information recasts the texture of the city for approximately 45 seconds each time the work sounds. This project joins other artworks such as The Last Pictures (2012) and Trinity Cube (2015) that explore the ethics and politics of human interventions into geologic time.


    Beta Space: Trevor Paglen is supported by the SJMA Exhibitions Fund, with generous contributions from the Richard A. Karp Charitable Foundation and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.  

    Operations and programs at the San José Museum of Art are made possible by generous support from SJMA’s Board of Trustees, a Cultural Affairs Grant from the City of San José, the Lipman Family Foundation, the Adobe Foundation, the Richard A. Karp Charitable Foundation, Sally Lucas, Yvonne and Mike Nevens, the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, the Skyline Foundation, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Brook Hartzell and Tad Freese, the SJMA Director's Council and Council of 100, the San José Museum of Art Endowment Fund established by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation at the Silicon Valley Community Foundation, and the William Randolph Hearst Foundation. 


    Fall Arts Guide 2021, Metroactive
    August 25, 2021

    Bay Area Visual Art Exhibitions Not to Miss this Fall, KQED
    August 30, 2021

    A Sound Piece Updates San José With Big Picture Data Streams, KQED
    August 30, 2021

    Trevor Paglen Installation at SJMA, Metroactive
    November 3, 2021

    Review: Art installation in San Jose sounds off on the ‘weirding of truth’ each day at noon, SF Chronicle Datebook
    November 24, 2021

    Yes, the San Jose Museum of Art clock tower is talking to you, Mercury News
    December 4, 2021