“I would always joke that Kate Johnson had created visuals that accompanied everyone from the Dali Lama to Michelle Obama. I used to joke, but it was true. But far beyond her massive-scaled projections was an artist who marked the transition between the analogue age and the digital age. Today it is commonplace for artists to do everything: write, direct, shoot, edit, animate, perform and even do the music. Johnson began that journey in the 1990s, when computers were slow, and software was feeble. By the time she arrived at 18th Street Arts Center in 2000, she had mastered the skill of combining these techniques into a singular artistic statement.”
- Michael J. Masucci
Chair, Santa Monica Arts Commission
video artist and media theorist
“Kate Johnson was one of the most competent, brilliant, and creative people I have ever met. I always felt inspired that she could not only conceive of such artistic masterpieces but create the tech to bring her visions to life. She is truly the definition of a 21st century artist."
- Kate Crash
songwriter, music producer, filmmaker,
entertainer and multimedia artist
“Kate's work touched each of our senses, and it was quite political, yet designed to simplify the idea she wanted to challenge us with so we would 'get' it. She was also skilled at allowing the artist's ideas to play out but knew exactly when to contribute her own ideas. So many artistic marriages emerged from her fingers and vision on that keyboard. No divorces! She was, and remains, a one-of-a-kind spirit.”
- S. Pearl Sharp
actor, writer, filmmaker,
The Healing Passage/ Voices From The Water
(Kate, editor and actor/storyteller),
Core (Kate's live event for the Getty's Pan Pacific)
Kate Johnson's video poem, with dancers from Loretta Livingston & Dancers. Johnson wrote, directed, shot, edited, created 2D and 3D animation and did the VoiceOver and music.
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.
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.
A short excerpt from the opening of the Telly Award-winning 2003 feature-length digital film “Quantum Entanglement”.
Commissioned for the 30th Anniversary of SIGGRAPH, this film mixes concepts from physics with pop culture conspiracies, metaphysical philosophy, and non-Western cultural practice.
Excerpt from film by Kate Johnson & Barbara T. Smith about her durational performance piece with Dr. Roy Walford. While Walford was locked into the Biosphere in Arizona for 2 years, Smith traveled the world creating performances, and sending messages and images via early camera phone technology supplied by and archived by Electronic Cafe International. The film chronicles her journey, her Odysseus to Walford's Penelope, and their ensuing struggles to maintain a connection to each other.
Documentation of a site-specific video projection created by artist Kate Johnson as part of her evening "Everywhere In Between". Enveloping the buildings of historic Bergamot Station Art Center in light, projections, dance and music, Johnson transformed the art campus into a single art installation. The video projection created for the evening specifically for this building is an exploration of the concept of "in between". From linearity to curves, form to figure, roving shadows to fluidic surrender, the piece evolves to a final moment of whirling meditation before returning back to form.
"Everything In Between" Video and Music: Kate Johnson
Performer: Ariana Gallestegui
Cello: Michael Intriere
Guitar: Michael J. Masucci
Documentation: Michael J. Masucci
There have been many, many videos documenting then unique experience that is Burning Man. In 1997, although attracting approximately 35,000 people, BM had still not received the mass market saturation that it ultimately would see.
EZTV's Michael J. Masucci & Kate Johnson attempted to make an experiential document that captured the experience from inside the chaos, drama and beauty that this escapes from the mundane allows. Kate Johnson danced improvised movement, accompanied by percussion by Robert Gelman, and then led thousands of people in procession for the lighting of the "Man". It was her torch which set the man ablaze. Fast cutting and a cacophony of sights and sounds convey the immersive collaborative performance that is Burning Man.
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.
“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.
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.
Excerpts of Johnson's projects ranging from large scale projection art, video art, and installations. All work is conceived and designed by her.
Kate Johnson in a series of clips from the multimedia/documentary project titled LA Woman. The documentary profiles pioneering, emerging, innovative and otherwise compelling Los Angeles-based female artists, philosophers and social entrepreneurs. In their own words and contexts.
EZTV and Cascade Pass co-produced this interview video with three Los Angeles based digital artists, Kate Johnson, Michael Wright and David Katz, about the approaches, histories and philosophies behind their respective art practices, as well as recognition of the pioneers in previous generations.
A hilarious behind-the-camera performance by Kate Johnson. Written and directed by Nina Rota.