Julia Scher

Lecture & Dining

For 30 years, Julia Scher has created media-based work about surveillance and electronic security and the power that inhabits these systems. Her works have taken various forms, including interactive installations, modified surveillance systems, interventions, tours, photographs, websites, films, videos, and audio recordings. With this talk, Scher focuses on Durational Aesthetics—also the title of her upcoming book—examining the effects time can have on collection, preservation, presentation, and discussion across multiple fields of study, including art. A colloquium was recently held at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art to discuss technological updates to her major installation, Predictive Engineering3which combines prerecorded footage with real-time surveillance to explore mechanisms for social control. Before reinstalling the ever-changing work, she met with museum staff to talk through complex issues of preservation and renewal. Scher’s ideas about Durational Aesthetics extend beyond conservation and installation adaptations to bigger concepts about the necessary context of then and now.


Scher dedicated her lecture to the Scher and Elfant families of Chicago.


Julia Scher is a Professor of Multimedia and Performance at the Kunsthochschule für Medien in Cologne. Solo exhibitions of her work have been organized by the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Harvard University, Cambridge; Fri-Art Centre d’Art Contemporain Kunsthalle, Fribourg; Kölnischer Kunstverein, Cologne; Walker Arts Center, Minneapolis; and Wexner Center for the Arts, Columbus. Scher’s work has been featured in group shows at the Centre Pompidou Metz; Kunsthalle Wein; New Museum, New York; Le Consortium, Dijon; Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid; Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; among others. She has participated in film festivals and screenings at the Kunstmuseum Bonn; Red Cat, Los Angeles; Tate Modern, London; and others. She has created outdoor installations for Ballroom Marfa; the City of Weisbaden, Germany; and MoMA PS1, Long Island City.