Elisheva BiernoffOn Creating Utopia

Elisheva Biernoff talks about​ The Tools Are In Your Hands, her mural piece commissioned for the 2013-14 exhibition Work in Progress: Considering Utopia, at the Contemporary Jewish Museum in San Francisco.

Biernoff describes her research into the history of the idea of utopia, its depiction in art, and her approach to the commission. “For me, utopia functions best as a prompt, as a reminder that our existence could be made better, that our social system isn’t the only one, or the best one,” Biernoff says. 

In the piece, museum visitors are invited to place magnets on a metal wall painted ​with an uninhabited landscape, “creating a moment of interaction,” without rules or expectations, Biernoff notes, and exploring the “joyful chaos of human activity.”