SFMOMA is committed to putting artists at the center of the work we do. Our curators and conservators work directly with artists to interpret, present, and care for an artwork across its lifetime. One such artist that SFMOMA staff have worked with over the past twenty years is Julia Scher. Scher’s surveillance-based installation, Predictive Engineering, was first conceived for SFMOMA’s original Van Ness building in 1993. The work was then updated by the artist, in collaboration with SFMOMA staff, in 1998 and 2016. For each iteration, the work is restaged in response to both the current technology landscape and SFMOMA’s changing galleries (in 1998 SFMOMA’s new Mario Botta-designed museum and in 2016 the Snøhetta-designed expansion).
In September 2016, SFMOMA hosted a colloquium focused on Predictive Engineering3. Scher discussed this work in the context of durational aesthetics and surveillant architectures, while guest scholars and SFMOMA staff members responded through the lenses of their own research and experiences.
This colloquium and other research around Predictive Engineering3 is part of SFMOMA’s Artist Initiative. Funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Artist Initiative is a series of collaborative, interdisciplinary research projects that brings together curators, conservators, art historians, and artists to pilot new approaches to contemporary art conservation, interpretation, and display.