The technologies developed in Silicon Valley have intrigued and inspired artistic experimentation for more than three decades and pave a way toward the future. Almost Human: Digital Art from the Permanent Collection highlights artists who use digital and emergent technologies from custom computer electronics and early robotics to virtual reality and artificial intelligence.
In 1968, at the Summer Olympic Games in Mexico City, San José State University runner Tommie Smith raised a gloved fist during the medal ceremony to protest human rights abuses around the world, and to bring international attention to the struggle for civil rights in the United States. This act of protest, which still reverberates today, is explored in a series of collaborations between Smith and Los Angeles–based conceptual artist Glenn Kaino.
Oakland-based artist Woody De Othello creates anthropomorphized household objects in ceramic. Belying their cheery and colorful veneers is a darkly comedic sense of exhaustion. Born in Miami to a family of Haitian descent, Othello is interested in the nature of many African objects, which offer both ritual and utilitarian functions and possess a spirit of their own. His sculptures express a tension between the animate and inanimate and draw humor from a place of pain.
This archival exhibition examines the broader history of athletics at San José State University beyond Tommie Smith and within the historical framework of the civil rights movement in the 1960s.