City of Disappearances Public Program
Saturday, October 26, 2013 - 12:00pm to Saturday, December 7, 2013 - 12:00pm
Start: Wattis Institute, 360 Kansas Street, San Francisco

These three guided afternoon excursions are led by collaborative groups of artists, writers, curators, and historians. While the exhibition invites the exterior experience of the urban into the gallery, these programs extend the exhibition out into the city.

Each excursion will traverse the streets and alleys of San Francisco, performing alternative routes and discussing forces of the urban domain that are hidden in plain sight.

RSVP is required. Please RSVP to or if you have any questions.

Distance Viewing -- CITYDETOUR with grupa o.k.
Saturday, October 26, noon
Duration: approximately five hours
Snacks and transport provided (Note: The van will depart at ​1​2:20 p.m. sharp from the Wattis Institute at 360 Kansas Street and return to this location following the event.)

grupa o.k. is the collaborative endeavor of Julian Myers and Joanna Szupinska. The name is a mischievous borrowing from grupa a.r. (artyści rewolucyjni), the Polish avant-garde group founded in 1929 by Władysław Strzemiński, Katarzyna Kobro, and Henryk Stażewski.

Distance Viewing builds a sequence of four viewpoints that allows a wide view of the city in pursuit of an image of San Francisco in toto -- as picture, or as sculpture. The event will consist of a daylong tour in the spirit of experimental research and conversation.

Historical arrangements of the city typically reserved the tallest buildings -- and therefore, the view they afforded -- for the sovereign. And if modernist urbanism (in the guise of the high-rise) worked relatively to democratize the view, it still held the high ground for the upper classes (in San Francisco, witness Pacific Heights) -- or, in exceptional cases, the tourist, for a fee.

By seeking out the commonly accessible outcrops and exteriors that afford spectacular views, Distance Viewing asserts the value of the sweeping perspective as a universal privilege.

Zoning the Ether -- CITYDETOUR with Brian Karl and Christian Nagler
Saturday, November 9, 1 p.m.
Meeting point: Wattis Institute (360 Kansas Street, San Francisco)
Duration: approximately three hours

For the second Citydetour Brian Karl and Christian Nagler will conduct a group investigation of the contemporary ether. In ancient Greek and medieval science the aether was the material that filled space outside of the terrestrial sphere. It was the special element that composed the territory of the gods. In the 19th century this concept was adapted to refer to a theoretical non-physical substance that filled all space and allowed for the transmission of light and sound waves, a universal medium of transmission. The archaic concept of the ether is analogous to the contemporary electromagnetic frequency spectrum, the conceptual range for all invisible waves that pass through our spaces, walls and bodies.

The electromagnetic waves and fields that compose the invisible urban sphere do not just emanate from the telecommunications systems that we use to conduct our lives (the cellular, wifi, gps and radio frequencies). Increasingly, they are also the basic infrastructural functions, the electrical, water, and gas meters, the traffic signals, the relays, sensors and surveillance devices that are networked into an automated, self-regulating grid. Our city is conducting all around and through us a constant, silent, complex conversation with itself.

In the San Francisco Bay area, birthplace and nucleus of the global wave-emission nervous system, this conversation is particularly manic -- and expensive. Just as the land we stand on is enclosed, parceled up, zoned, and monetized for use and exchange, so is the electromagnetic spectrum. Parts of this spectrum are highly valuable properties that are auctioned, purchased, rented, and speculated upon by telecom corporations, internet giants, and semiconductor manufacturers.

What tools and methods do we need to listen in on these invisible signals? Are we listening without knowing it (with our bodies, our psyches)? Join us in metering and decoding the hertzes and milligausses that make up our omnipresent electro-zones. We will attempt to outline a basic understanding of the varieties of electromagnetic radiation and how it's used and where it is. We will also consider the concerns (or paranoias?) of communities, experts, and 'sensitives' who believe that the density of electromagnetic waves is damaging or mutating the human biome, and disordering cognition, in unprecedented ways.

Brian Karl conducted his doctoral research in Morocco, Spain, and the United States, and has taught widely in cultural anthropology, music, and art while also producing a series of independently produced experimental video documentaries. His latest project, Markers of Death, is supported by SALT Research in Istanbul.

Christian Nagler is an artist, writer, and translator. He has performed with Anna Halprin, Isak Immanuel, and Open Experiments Ensemble. His novel The Capitalist is forthcoming in 2014. His recent writings can be found in the journal Fillip, the SFMOMA exhibition catalogue Six Lines of Flight, Somatic Engagement (Chain Links Books), Encyclopedia, Tarpaulin Sky, and Aufgabe.

City of Busappearances -- CITYDETOUR with Will Brown
Saturday, December 7, 12 - 4 p.m.
Limited space. Please RSVP to

The infamous "Google Bus" has become synonymous with the changing face of San Francisco by chauffeuring SF-based employees to and from Silicon Valley jobs everyday. CoB is a bus tour in the format of a talk show that traces the unpublished route of the infamous bus through the city with "participants" serving as the live studio audience.

This tour/show departs from the Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts and works its way through San Francisco, stopping at several locations on the actual Google route to pick up the show's diverse group of guest interviewees. From onboard the CoB bus, our conversation will explore the current cultural, financial, and artistic climate of the city. CoB concludes at Will Brown with a special finale inside the related exhibition, Supreme Condominium.

Will Brown would like to thank Stamen Design for notating the otherwise invisible routes of several Silicon Valley buses.

Will Brown is a collaborative project by Lindsey White, Jordan Stein, and David Kasprzak based in a storefront space in San Francisco’s Mission District. Its main objective is to manipulate the structures of exhibition making as a critical practice.

See City of Disappearances for additional information regarding the exhibition.