Are We There Yet? The Exhibit

15 Apr

There’s an old Jewish joke in which a man asks a rabbi, “”Why do Jews always answer a question with a question?” The rabbi answers: “Do we?” Following that thread, new media artist/UC Berkeley professor Ken Goldberg and designer Gil Gershoni created a new online and physical installation for San Francisco’s Contemporary Jewish Museum titled “Are We There Yet? 5000 Years of Answering Questions with Questions.” The installation combines computer vision, machine learning, and a high-end surround sound system to provoke visitors with questions drawing from historical Jewish texts, literature, pop culture, and online submissions from the Are We There Yet? site. From the project description:

If not now, when? What’s your hurry? Why is this night different than all other nights? Are you experienced? When does life begin? Why do Jews always answer a question with a question? Do you feel lucky? Do you love me? Are you Jewish? What, me worry?

on Cnet writes: Search and questioning are at the core of Jewish cultural and spiritual identity. Jews of all ages are encouraged to question assumptions and authorities, taking to heart the Yiddish proverb:  “One who does not ask, does not know.”

Are We There Yet? is a new media art installation in the Museum’s Yud Gallery by Bay Area artists Ken Goldberg and Gil Gershoni that celebrates inquisitive impulse. An immersive sound environment, the installation poses questions from a variety of sources including the Talmud, literature, and popular culture. Questions vary based on visitors’ movement through the space.

Each visit is a unique mix of playfulness, poetry, and spiritual journey. A companion website,, presents live streams of videos and tweets, allowing visitors to suggest questions for the exhibition and to playfully explore the suggestions of others. You can also download the iPod/iPad app, follow on Twitter @doyouloveme, or like Are We There Yet? on Facebook. Are We There Yet? encourages visitors to reflect on the rich history and future of curiosity.

Are We There Yet?: 5000 Years of Answering Questions With Questions runs through July, 2011 at the Contemporary Jewish Museum. For more information visit

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