Gray Area’s New Virtual Platform for Performances, Talks and Learning


Gray Area is a go-to destination in the Bay Area for thoughtful, experimental art that pushes the limits of the latest technology. The San Francisco Mission District venue has hosted virtual reality installations, experimental video art from the likes of Radiohead's Thom Yorke and shows for techno and arts festival Mutek.

While Gray Area's doors are closed, the organization has launched a new online community called Patch. With only an email signup, Patch members are granted access to workshops, curated playlists, streams of talks and performances, and virtual happy hours and book clubs.

While much of the new venture's programming has yet to be announced, a few things are already brewing: Gray Area executive director Barry Threw is giving a talk for the TAC (Technology and Applied Composition) Online Festival, presented by the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. On April 4, he joins a weekend of programming that includes live-streamed concerts by Holly Herndon, the electronic musician who built an artificial intelligence algorithm to help her compose her latest album, and Austin Wintory, an acclaimed soundtrack composer for games such as Assassin's Creed.

A virtual book club with author Gene Youngblood kicks off on April 5, where readers can Zoom directly with the author of Expanded Cinema, a 1970 book considered a foundational text for digital art. And a storytelling with augmented reality workshop for teens ages 15–18 is underway starting April 6.

More programming is to come on the Patch website.