California: To Be Continued



What will become of California in the future? Will it continue to be a global high technology leader? Will the population continue to further diversify? Will it become an officially bilingual society? Will California still be "cool" in the eyes of many? These questions along with others are addressed in the gallery's final section, covering the years 1975 to the present.

Divided into six main areas, CA TO BE CONTINUED tells stories of immigration, the Mexico–United States border, Silicon Valley innovation, and California's cultural influence on the nation and the world. A rotating space showcases collaborative public history exhibitions developed with students from the California State University System.


Titles in this section revert to the primary institution-wide standard of Benton Sans, emphasizing the present.

In the early 1970s, immigration restrictions were relaxed, and as a result, millions of new people from all over the world flooded into California's stable economy to start new lives. Many had fled political oppression, war, and starvation. NEW ARRIVALS takes on the metaphor of an arrivals terminal at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). Structural features suggest that airport's famous Theme Building, designed by Welton Becket, which opened in 1961.

X-ray security monitors along the wall (a new feature of 1970s air travel) are actually a media piece that displays baggage from different parts of world, calling out certain objects, beliefs, traditions, customs, and foods that were being introduced into California. The sequence runs in a continuous loop from screen to screen, and was animated by Gabriel Lamb.

The arrivals board itself, taking on the familiar vernacular of a list of flights. The "flight number" corresponds with each country's rank for number of new immigrants that resettled in California, complete with each nation's flag.

In the retired fuselage of an actual Boeing 707 airliner, visitors can listen to personal accounts recorded by people from South America, the Middle East, the Indian Subcontinent, and Southeast Asia. The audio instructions take the vernacular form of a vintage airline safety card, based on actual samples from the period. As a personal tribute, the card is set in Hermann Zaph's Optima, which was the institutional typeface for the Oakland Museum of California during the 1970s.

Exhibit design for THE BORDER was lead by Auburn Leigh. I contributed vernacular signage and maps, based on actual examples currently in use.

I provided overall concept and creative direction for the INNOVATION GARAGE, which is based in part on the HP Garage structure in Palo Alto, in addition to exhibit and graphic design.

The garage space is highly immersive and features extensive props and sets. At the center of the room is an interactive piece utilizing Arduino technology to demonstrate to visitors how an electrical circuit can be opened and closed by letting current flow through the human body. Different electrical devices around the garage are activated when various circuits are closed.

By raiding eWaste sites around the East Bay, I assembled prop crates of circuit boards, wiring, and other assorted computer electronics. We wanted the vibe of an eccentric inventor, creating the next technological leap forward from a simple lab in a suburban garage.

Subheaders are set in OCR-A, which was standardized for computer input and output in 1968. Body type is set in House Industries' Neutraface Drafting, which resembles an electrical engineer's handwriting. The custom map for the Stanford Research Park was based on actual draftings. In a rare example of fieldwork, I travelled to Steve Job's 1970s original Apple home garage in Los Altos and the HP Garage in Palo Alto for photographs.

Vintage computer equipment, from the first pocket calculators up to the first generation iPod, are displayed in vitrines resembling corrugated boxes stacked on storage shelves. Although constructed of MDF fiberboard, they are realistically sealed with packing tape. Thematic labels are set in Neutraface Drafting.