ASU Art Museum presents new commissioned work by artist-in-residence Yoshua Okón

June 30, 2015

Tempe, Ariz. — This summer, ASU Art Museum will present a new commissioned work by Mexico City-based artist Yoshua Okón, in an exhibition titled "Oracle" that will be on view July 2 – Aug. 22, 2015 in the Top Gallery at the museum’s 10th Street and Mill Avenue location. The multi-channel video installation centers on anti-immigration protests against unaccompanied children who are fleeing violence and poverty from Central America into the United States.

Produced during Okón’s residency at the ASU Art Museum International Artist Residency Program, "Oracle" was inspired by Okón’s experiences in Oracle, Ariz. This small town is known for its complicated politics and mix of pro- and anti-immigration community, as well as being a stronghold for the Minutemen, now called Arizona Border Protectors, a volunteer organization dedicated to patrolling the U.S./Mexico border alongside Border Patrol forces. In July 2014, Oracle was the arena for the largest-yet protest against the entrance of unaccompanied children from Central America into the U.S. During Okón’s first trip to Oracle, he spoke to the leaders who orchestrated the protest, who agreed to gather those who participated in the protest in order for Okón to create a live reenactment, based on what happened from their ideological perspective. "Yoshua Okón, Oracle," 2015. Still from video. Image courtesy of the artist. Photo courtesy of Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts Download Full Image

“Okon’s 'Oracle' project questions the relevance of nationalism in this transnational age,” says the exhibition’s curator, Julio César Morales. “In the light of the history of U.S. invasions in Central America, this piece explores root causes in order to give new readings of why thousands of children are risking their lives to come into the United States.”

"Oracle" is the second part to Okón’s critically acclaimed video "Octopus" (2011), which was produced while Okón was an artist-in-residence at the Hammer Museum, at the University of California, Los Angeles. The first video is a reenactment of the Guatemalan Civil War at the parking lot of a Home Depot in Los Angeles, where participants work as day laborers. These laborers are also ex-guerillas who fought in the war. In conjunction with "Oracle" at the ASU Art Museum, "Octopus" will be on view Aug. 24 – Oct. 3, 2015 at the ASU Art Museum International Artist Residency Program Project Space, located in downtown Phoenix at Combine Studios.

"Oracle" is part of the Contact Zones series of exhibitions at the ASU Art Museum, which focuses on contemporary migration and its intricate uncertainties within border culture, destiny and contested histories. The series includes new commission-based video installations, public engaged programs, guest-curated exhibitions and artist initiated projects.


Yoshua Okón was born in 1970 in Mexico City, where he currently lives. His work, like a series of near-sociological experiments executed for the camera, blends staged situations, documentation and improvisation and questions habitual perceptions of reality and truth, selfhood and morality. In 2002 he received an MFA from UCLA with a Fulbright scholarship. Okón has had several international solo exhibitions, including "Yoshua Okón 2007–2010" at the Yerba Buena Center for The Arts in San Francisco; "Salò Island" at UC Irvine; "Piovra" at Kaufmann Repetto in Milan; "Poulpe" at Mor Charpentier in Paris; "Octopus" at Cornerhouse, Manchester and Hammer Museum in Los Angeles and "SUBTITLE" at Städtische Kunsthalle in Munich, as well as group exhibitions at the Gwangju Biennale in Korea, Museo Universitario Arte Contemporáneo (MUAC) in Mexico City, Musée cantonal des Beaux-Arts in Lausanne, Palais des Beaux-Arts in Brussels, CCA Wattis in San Francisco, New Museum and MoMA PS1 in New York. His work is included in the collections of Tate Modern, Hammer Museum, LACMA, Colección Jumex and MUAC, among others.


"Yoshua Okón: Oracle" is curated by Julio César Morales and is made possible in part by the Institute of Museum and Library Services, Museums for America Grant Number MA–20–14–0236–14.

The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) is the primary source of federal support for the nation’s 123,000 libraries and 35,000 museums. Its mission is to inspire libraries and museums to advance innovation, lifelong learning and cultural and civic engagement. Its grant making, policy development and research help libraries and museums deliver valuable services that make it possible for communities and individuals to thrive. Museums for America is the institute's largest grant program for museums, supporting projects and ongoing activities that build museums' capacity to serve their communities. To learn more, visit and follow IMLS on Facebook and Twitter.

The ASU Art Museum International Artist Residency Program has received additional generous support for artists and projects from the Windgate Charitable Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, the British Council, CEC ArtsLink, Furla Foundation and the Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability.


The ASU Art Museum, named “the single most impressive venue for contemporary art in Arizona” by Art in America magazine, is part of the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts at Arizona State University.

To learn more about the museum, call 480.965.2787, or visit

Location/Parking: The museum has three locations across the metro Phoenix area: the ASU Art Museum at 10th Street and Mill Avenue, on ASU’s Tempe campus; the ASU Art Museum Brickyard at 7th Street and Mill Avenue, in downtown Tempe; and the ASU Art Museum International Artist Residency Program Project Space at Combine Studios, in downtown Phoenix. Designated parking is available at all three locations.

Admission: Free at all three locations.

Hours: The ASU Art Museum and ASU Art Museum Brickyard are open 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. The museum is closed on Sundays and Mondays. The ASU Art Museum International Artist Residency Program Project Space in downtown Phoenix at Combine Studios has variable public hours depending on exhibition schedules and is open by appointment. 

Public Contact: 
Juno Schaser
PR Specialist

'Swarm Intelligence' scientist joins ASU

June 30, 2015

Physicist Eric Bonabeau, one of the world’s leading experts in complex systems and adaptive problem solving, has joined Arizona State University and the ASU-Santa Fe Institute Center for Biosocial Complex Systems.

His book "Swarm Intelligence," a scientific bestseller now for 17 years, inspired Michael Crichton's popular bestseller, "Prey." Author and physicist Eric Bonabeau joins ASU on July 1. Author and physicist Eric Bonabeau joins ASU on July 1. Bonabeau penned the scientific bestseller "Swarm Intelligence," which inspired Michael Crichton's popular bestseller, "Prey." Photo by: Eric Bonabeau Download Full Image

“Dr. Bonabeau’s work in research and development, entrepreneurship and human decision-making has been groundbreaking,” said Robert E. Page Jr., former provost and professor in ASU's School of Life Sciences. Page also holds an appointment with the ASU center, as well as the position of external professor with the Santa Fe Institute. “He has transformed communications, robotics, discovery and technology. We look forward to his contributions to our efforts at ASU.”  

At ASU, Bonabeau will work primarily within the ASU-Santa Fe Institute (ASU-SFI) center. Created to advance complexity sciences and accelerate scientific understanding and problem-solving, the center’s focus areas are urbanization and scaling in cities, disease patterns and health care delivery, and the dynamics of innovation. 

“Eric’s out-of-the-box ways of thinking will enrich the many activities already underway within the ASU-SFI center and create new research possibilities, related to, among others, problems of conflict resolution,” said Manfred Laubichler, co-director of the ASU-Santa Fe Institute center and an external professor at the Santa Fe Institute.

In the 1990s, Bonabeau was a research engineer with France Telecom R&D, a research and development engineer with Cadence Design Systems, and the Interval Research Fellow at the Santa Fe Institute. A hotel mix-up in Santa Fe placed him in a room with Guy Theraulaz, a French scientist studying the collective intelligence of social insects. Previously not a fan of insects, conversations with Theraulaz helped Bonabeau visualize a mathematical connection between an ant’s distributed model of problem solving and his own work in computing and communications networks. 

In the last decade, Bonabeau’s studies centered on how technology can push the limits of human decision-making in a complex, decentralized and unpredictable world; studies spurred by a serendipitous exchange about social insects: ants, bees, wasps and termites.

Computational models of behavior and decision-making, predictive analytics, machine learning and research and discovery techniques form the core of his approach to decision support. According to Bonabeau, he is “reverse engineering nature – finding the rules that give rise to certain type of behavior, replicating it and learning how to control it.”

Bonabeau has authored more than 150 scientific articles, three books and is a co-inventor on 18 granted patents. He’s applied his approach to diverse challenges, from genetic algorithms that drive design evolution to self-organized systems, such as unmanned aerial vehicles. His work has also served the U.S. Navy, probing for points of failure in control systems for warships.

“SFI, once my postdoctoral home, has had a deep, ongoing influence on my thinking and career,” said Bonabeau. “The ASU-SFI Center for Biosocial Complex Systems is giving me the opportunity to design and direct leading-edge research with a dynamic group of world-class scientists. I am beyond thrilled to be part of this emerging adventure.”

Bonabeau has also invested in innovative approaches to higher education. In addition to his work at ASU, he is the founding dean of computational sciences at The Minerva Schools at Keck Graduate Institute, Claremont Colleges, a residential campus experience combined with online classrooms and an active learning approach informed by the science of learning. Prior to this, Bonabeau founded Icosystem Corporation, a research and development firm and technology incubator and was the CEO of Eurobios, a joint venture with Cap Gemini Ernst & Young to apply the science of complex adaptive systems to business issues. 

Bonabeau received his doctorate in theoretical physics from Paris-Sud University Orsay and is an alumnus of Ecole Polytechnique and Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Télécommunications in France. 

“Appointments such as Eric’s illustrate the advantages of the flexible and collaborative structures ASU has built over the last few years,” said Laubichler, who is also a professor in ASU's School of Life Sciences and associate director of ASU's Origins Project.

Margaret Coulombe

Director, Executive Communications, Office of the University Provost