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Our Enduring Hippie Sensibility, Explained

A new exhibition in Berkeley builds bridges between flower children and techies.

Environment Transformer/ Flyhead, 1968; digital print



With all the Silicon Valley corporate-speak, it can feel increasingly hard to draw a straight line from the Bay Area’s utopian Whole Earth Catalog types to today’s moneyed technocrats. But the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive is doing its best to underscore the connections in Hippie Modernism: The Struggle for Utopia (Feb. 8–May 21).

The exhibition features artworks, images, and videos that capture the ways in which the Bay Area’s flower children laid the groundwork for advances in design, architecture, and technology that still resonate today, from ecologically sustainable building to shared living and working spaces. Among the images on display is one of a “community memory” terminal, attached to a computer mainframe, that was once housed at a Berkeley record shop. From there to Twitter is but a small step. 

Originally published in the February issue of
San Francisco 

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