Project Description

  • Photo of artist Jonathon Keats

Atlanta River Time


Public projects 2022
Flux Exchange visit
Sept. 14-24, 2021


Panel Discussion
Mon, June 14, 1pm
Clepsydra Workshop
Sat, Sept. 18, 10am

Jonathon Keats

Jonathon Keats proposes river time as an alternative to standard time, and he has created a series of engagements to help us connect with this natural system. Standard time is measured on atomic clocks, providing a technical basis for global transactions. By contrast, river time is calculated by comparing the current flow of a stream against its long-term historical (11 – 73 year) average flow. If the current flow is faster than the historical average, river time runs faster than standard time, and if the flow is slower than the historical average, river time runs slower. River time will speed up or slow down based upon environmental impacts, many of these manmade. Keats’s hope is understanding natural cycles of a river will encourage us to nurture our environment.

Keat’s project is being developed through our Flux Exchange,  an exploratory incubator series that invites artists to explore the city of Atlanta as a site for a future large-scale public project. Visiting artists engage with local artists and cultural contributors, research the physical and cultural landscape of the city, and execute a public program.

For Atlanta River Time, Flux Projects is currently partnering with AIR Serenbe, Chattahoochee NOW, and the South Fork Conservancy; and we look to welcome additional partners in the coming months.

About the Artist

Acclaimed as a “poet of ideas” by The New Yorker and a “multimedia philosopher-prophet” by The Atlantic, Jonathon Keats is an artist, writer and experimental philosopher based in the United States and Europe. His conceptually-driven transdisciplinary projects explore all aspects of society, adapting methods from the sciences and the humanities. He has exhibited and lectured at dozens of institutions worldwide, from the Los Angeles County Museum of Art to Stanford University to the Triennale di Milano, and from SXSW to CERN to UNESCO. He is the author of six books on subjects ranging from science and technology to art and design – most recently You Belong to the Universe: Buckminster Fuller and the Future, published by Oxford University Press – and is the author of a weekly online art and design column for Forbes. He has been an artist-in residence at the Fraunhofer Institute for Building Physics, UC Berkeley’s Sagehen Creek Field Station, and the LACMA Art + Technology Lab, a Black Mountain College Legacy Fellow at the University of North Carolina-Asheville, an Imaginary Fellow at Arizona State University’s Center for Science and the Imagination, and a Research Fellow at the Nevada Museum of Art’s Center for Art + Environment. He is currently a Polar Lab artist at the Anchorage Museum, a visiting scholar at San Jose State University’s CADRE Laboratory for New Media, an associated researcher at the University of Arizona’s Desert Laboratory on Tumamoc Hill, and an artist-in-residence at both the SETI Institute and UC San Francisco’s Memory and Aging Center. He serves as co-director and principal philosopher for Earth Law Center’s Interspecies Technology Transfer Consortium, and is the founding director and curator of the Museum of Future History. A monograph about his art, Thought Experiments, is forthcoming from Hirmer Verlag. He is represented by Modernism Gallery in San Francisco.

artist portfolio at modernism gallery

Thought Experiments: The Art of Jonathon Keats

The newest book on Keat’s work is described by publisher Hirmer as follows: Since the turn of the millennium, Keats has comprehensively extended his academic training in philosophy by prolifically presenting conceptual art projects that he refers to as “thought experiments.” These include installations and performances in museums and galleries around the globe. His motivations are to make space for exploring ideas, offering provocations and confronting systems we generally take for granted. By prototyping alternative realities – systematically asking “what if …?” – these projects probe the world in which we live, exploring the potential for societal change.

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