Upgrade Available

Julia Christensen is a multidisciplinary artist who explores systems of technology, consumerism, landscape, and change.

Artist Bio

Upgrade Available is a body of work that explores our cultural relationships with obsolete electronic material. The work began in 2012, when Julia Christensen visited an e-waste recycling center in the south of India, and was faced with a mountain of trashed electronics. In order to grasp the enormity of our e-waste stream, she began investigating narratives surrounding the electronics we consume, hoard, and discard at an unsustainable rate in the 21st century. The resulting pieces (Burnouts, The Big Feed, Hard Copy, The Chuck Close Tapes, and Infinite Loop) each explore our relationships with such objects as outdated smartphones, VHS tapes, and hard drives. Christensen repurposed discarded electronics to make self-designed sculptural video projectors for these pieces; the body of work additionally includes photography, video, sculpture, and installation. Christensen is also writing extensively about these stories and the related issues.

Award Year



Julia Christensen

Oberlin, OH

Julia Christensen is a multidisciplinary artist who explores systems of technology, consumerism, landscape, and change. Her work has been exhibited internationally at venues such as the Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh; Contemporary Art Center, Thessaloniki, Greece; Eyebeam, New York; Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles; Pori Art Museum, Pori, Finland; Ronald Feldman Fine Arts, New York; Shrine Empire Gallery, New Delhi; and the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis. Christensen is the author of Upgrade Available published by Dancing Foxes Press in 2020, and Big Box Reuse, published by MIT Press in 2008. She has also written for magazines including CabinetOrion, and Print. She is associate professor of integrated media and chair of the Studio Art department at Oberlin College, where she has additionally served on the faculties of the Environmental Studies program and the Technology in Music and Related Arts department in the Oberlin Conservatory of Music. In addition to her award from Creative Capital, Christensen has received support from New York State Council on the Arts, Ohio Arts Council, and Turbulence, and has had residencies at the MacDowell Colony, Wexner Center for the Arts Film/Video Studio, and the Experimental Television Center. In 2017 she was awarded the LACMA Art + Tech Lab fellowship, and in 2018 she was named a Guggenheim Fellow.