Visit Kate Johnson's Memorial Page
Kate Johnson is a video artist and Emmy® Award winning filmmaker. Throughout her career she has created work that explores the intersections between memory and presence, perception and reality, and the momentary nature of existence. Informed by a combination of influences ranging from her work in college on archeological digs, to collaborations with choreographers and performers, and her immersion into video and computer art when she joined EZTV, she pulls from poetry and magic realism, as well as themes around emerging technology and its confluence with our humanity. When asked what her medium is she often answers: time.
She works in multiple mediums as an installation artist, performer, sculptor, video artist, writer, and filmmaker. Her work has been shown in galleries, festivals, and exhibitions nationally and internationally. Her large-scale projection and video sculptures have transformed spaces including LA City Hall, The Getty Center, Ford Amphitheater, Tongva Park in the City of Santa Monica, Japanese American Cultural Center, the Los Angeles Metro, Bergamot Station Art Center, Dance Camera Istanbul, among others.
Kate Johnson, Co-Director of EZTV 1992-2020
Her film, “Mia, A Dancer’s Journey” premiered at the Film Society at Lincoln Center and was broadcast on PBS stations across the nation. The film also received an LA Emmy® Award and a Golden Mike Award. Her collaborative works have been exhibited at The ICA in London, MOMA NY, Cannes Film Festival, The American Cinematheque, The Los Angeles Film Festival, American Film Institute, The Pan African Film Festival, Pomona College Museum of Art, and broadcast on The Documentary Channel, Channel 5 France, and in film festivals internationally.
She is a principal force behind the seminal Los Angeles media art group EZTV and instrumental in the group’s early works being inducted into the permanent collection at the University of Southern California’s One Archives.
She is currently Assistant Professor at Otis College of Art & Design and is an artist in residence at the 18th Street Arts Center.
For more information on Kate Johnson, please visit her website at https://www.katejohnsonartandfilm.com
Co-producers Kate Johnson, Ted Sprague, and Brenda Brkusic accept an Emmy for their PBS SoCal documentary, "Mia, A Dancer's Journey". Maria Ramas also received an Emmy.
Spirits of Morty was commissioned by the City of Santa Monica. Morty is a century old fig tree in Tongva Park and has survived 100 years of growth and change surrounding it. Exploring a perspective of survival and time, the piece develops from a space of light to development of shapes and to ever more complex forms. The Spirits of Morty are those that haunt all of us from their expansiveness to their direct forms and are sensed by those who’ve been present for a long period of time.
“Core” is a meditation on how we leave our mark in this world and how we remember. Kate Johnson comes to this piece after having worked on archaeological digs in college and seeing first hand what evidence is left behind. Later, as a co-director of EZTV, Johnson helped to save the work of many artists, some who were lost to AIDS, and again experienced the ephemeral nature of what we leave behind.
This video was made as part of an installation in 2005. Created in a relatively recent post-9/11 world, it was a reaction to the resulting wars, the murder of Daniel Pearl, the mounting deaths and displacement of innocent people, and the ongoing escalation of terror and counter-terroism measures.
In the piece, as in life, eventually the two sides blur. Cause and effect become simultaneous in a volley of "stones" and where one begins and the other ends is indecipherable. All we know is what we are left with: funeral flowers and the remains of the forgotten.
XVII-The Moon is a multilayered visual meditation on the mysteries of the moon. Inspired by Pablo Neruda’s “Ode to the Moon”, I began writing some original text and weaved it along with deconstructed elements of Neruda’s poem through the images. I played with the concepts of reflection, shadows, and the idea of our sole witness that travels around us each month. I researched ancient charts and beliefs and enfolded them into the images of the dancers. Seeking a feeling of mystery, watery reflections and displacement of time and solidity I took the dancers' images and manipulated them so that they were stripped of most color, and bent the forms as they moved like water rippling in the moonlight.
Since this project, I’ve never looked at the moon the same again–our moon of the city, impassible silver prophet… I am named in your shadow.
A collaboration with Loretta Livingston & Dancers.