Christian Jankowski

Christian Jankowski, Silicon Valley Talks (production photo), 2013; commissioned by the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art with generous funding provided by Adriane Iann and Christian Stolz, courtesy the artist; © Christian Jankowski; photo: Chris Tipton-King

Christian Jankowski

Born in Göttingen, Germany, 1968; lives and works in Berlin

What language will we use in the future when we talk about love, death, and shenanigans? This is the question addressed in Christian Jankowski's new work Silicon Valley Talks. Jankowski's performances and video installations explore the often surprising intersections of contemporary life, media culture, and art. He frequently engages members of the public as collaborators, making them "coauthors" who participate in shaping his work. For Project Los Altos, he invited some of Silicon Valley's most visionary entrepreneurs, programmers, thinkers, and doers to write talks on everyday topics they feel passionate about — such as "falling in love" or "holidays" — and perform them for the Los Altos community and SFMOMA audiences in a storefront installation on State Street.

The installation's colorful objects, taken from symbols of digital communication, double as sculptures and practical furniture or display support, and offer a space for talking and listening. In their recorded performances, the speakers fill empty, green chat bubbles with more and more jargon — as if they were giving TED talks — yet they never directly promote or address their actual businesses. Jankowski's claim is that they are already speaking the language of a future when avant-garde tech speak will have entered common conversation — not only in this region but everywhere in the world. The result is a performative collage of topics the audience knows very well, composed of words they might not know at all. Some subtitles translating from English to English help the audience catch up. And who knows, generations after us might be equally thankful for the subtitles in these recordings of a futurist language. Oscillating between the serious and the humorous, the Talks' tech speak emerges as a potential global reality and as testimony to the artist's belief that art is being produced while we talk.

Rudolf Frieling
Curator of Media Arts


Was "AC - testplayer copy"

Christian Jankowski on Silicon Valley Talks

Silicon Valley Talks: Speaker List  

Do you "LIKE" me? Will you "FOLLOW" me?

Chris Block
CEO of American Leadership Forum — Silicon Valley

How to Write a Poem in Ten Easy Steps

Jason Danielson
Director of Media Solutions at NetApp

An Introduction to Fly-Fishing

Michael Flynn
Director of Innovation & Strategy, SAP Labs


Luke Groesbeck
Entrepreneur, Former Consumer Product Lead for Eventbrite

Staying in Touch Remotely

Yukiko Habu
Director of the KDDI Research Lab

Kale Juice of the Valley

Vanessa Hope
A Poet Who Works at a Venture Capital Firm


Kevin Mahaffey
Founder and CTO of Lookout

Falling in Love

Philip Rosedale
CEO of Hi Fidelity and Founder of Second Life

Raising a Family in an Alien Culture

Harry Saal
Serial entrepreneur, leading and creating both for-profit and non-profit entities in the arts, technology, and science

Visit Information


271 State Street
Los Altos, CA 94022


Wednesday - Sunday 10:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.




For Bay Area transit and traffic information, visit


Project Los Altos: SFMOMA in Silicon Valley is organized by the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art in collaboration with the City of Los Altos. The lead sponsor of this exhibition is Passerelle Investment Company.

Major support is provided by SFMOMA's Collectors Forum. Generous support is provided by the Bay Area Contemporary Arts Exhibition Fund, founded by Agnes Cowles Bourne; and Brit and Dave Morin. Jim Breyer, Randi and Bob Fisher, Patricia W. Fitzpatrick, Adriane Iann and Christian Stolz, Nion T. McEvoy, and Thomas W. Weisel and Janet Barnes are sponsors of the exhibition. Additional support is provided by the Graue Family Foundation, Alka and Ravin Agrawal, The Black Dog Private Foundation, Phyllis and Bill Draper, Concepción and Irwin Federman, Marissa Mayer and Zachary Bogue, Christopher and Michele Meany, the David and Lucille Packard Foundation, and the Los Altos Community Foundation.

City of Los Altos