Benjamin Britton


Then: In 1997, CityBeat took a look forward to the new millennium. Writers and readers were concerned with the Human Genome Project, water on the moon, life on Mars, cosmetic surgery, bio-warfare and surveillance, to name a few things. Benjamin Britton, a digital artist and professor at the UC's College of Design, Art, Architecture and Planning (DAAP), asserted that in spite of pundits saying we don't know truth, "our impressions are true, our experiences are real and our perceptions are valid." Britton espoused a happy marriage of science and art in the future in a concept called "mutual reality." (Issue of March 13, 1997)

Now: Botox, anyone? We seem to be concerned with many of the same issues. Britton still muses on mutual reality at UC and since 1997 has helped to build an Internet-based computer graphics studio and a motion capture animation studio at DAAP. He's presented his concept of mutual reality at the American Film Institute, the Getty Museum, the Staatliche Museum in Amsterdam and the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

Britton believes he had it right in 1997. "My views on technology haven't changed much," he says, "because circumstances have confirmed my prognoses, met my expectations and proceeded as I anticipated."

In addition to working on the interconnection of science and art, Britton has added a spirituality component to his concept. "I continue to learn from my mutual reality research about the spiritual reality in which each of us exists in our mutual reality," he explains. "(We're) connected to each other by the ethereal substance of life. I have learned that conscious desire to adopt moral change is necessary if morality is to affect action. The world has changed since 1997, yet humanity is perhaps not yet so different since then."

If anything, Britton is more humble in 2004 than he was seven years ago. "Art teaches me," he says. "As an artist and as a teacher of art, I've learned about humility and responsibility since 1997. Many extraordinary people have entered my life and graced me by their interactions with me. Hopefully I'll learn from my experiences to become a better, more caring, more helpful person."

WHERE ARE THEY NOW? updates cover stories from throughout CityBeat's 10-year history.

Scroll to read more News Feature articles


Join CityBeat Newsletters

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.