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Lincoln Schatz: The Network, part 2

Video portraits of American leadership

THE NETWORK includes 89 video portraits by pioneer media artist Lincoln Schatz that are in the permanent collection of the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C.. The portraits offer a stunning and unique portrayal of contemporary American leadership and innovation representing government, business, science, technology and culture. Schatz gives voice to the stories of those searching for solutions to intractable national and international problems.

Streaming Museum has selected for online exhibition 19 video art portraits that are relevant to the contemporary themes it is exploring: Part 1- Improving the lives of women, children and workers, peace and civil rights, harnessing the power of technology to connect people Part 2- The environment, health and science, economic and social challenges Part 3- Creative problem solving, the transforming power of the arts and education, and bridging cultures

The artist’s process: Filming each portrait via multiple cameras during a forty-five minutes conversation, Schatz captured his sitters as they discussed their legacies, accomplishments, and aspirations. Working with this footage Schatz used custom software that constantly recombined the video based on the topic  – the heart of what he refers to as “the generative portrait” process – and enabled him to create a dynamic, continuously evolving representation of the similarities and differences between the sitters, free of editorial input.

PART 2: Leaders working to solve issues of the environment, health and science, economic and social challenges


“The evidence is overwhelming that climate change is taking place, and the consequences are likely to be challenging for much of our society. It’s imperative that we take this seriously and act to reduce greenhouse gas emissions as fast as we can.”

Scientist Jane Lubchenco is under secretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and the first female administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. At NOAA, she has sought to create a bridge between scientific research and the public to encourage the development of informed policy.


“I hope that we have been building the next generation of environmentalists, one that is more diverse, and that the next generation sees in us a public service agency that listens more than it speaks, an agency that always protects their health and the environment in which they live.”

Administrator of the US Environmental Protection Agency, Lisa P. Jackson is a chemical engineer focused on protecting Americans’ health, safeguarding the environment, and ushering in a green economy. As the first African American to serve as EPA administrator, she has made it a priority to ensure environmental justice for all Americans.


“You really can have you cake and eat it, too: clean, sustainable energy, economic competitiveness, and a sustainable world.”

Secretary of Energy Steven Chu, an atomic physicist and Nobel Prize laureate, is focused on climate change and the development of new clean and renewable energy sources to ensure that America remains competitive globally. This includes initiating specialized research programs, attracting highly accomplished scientists to the Department of Energy, and pursuing breakthrough energy technologies.


“Genomics now drives so many of the exciting opportunities in science. We have a window into what’s happening inside any living thing, and that is unprecedented.”

Physician and geneticist Francis S. Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health, oversaw the sequencing of the human genome as director of the Human Genome Project (1993–2008). Dedicated to using research to combat disease, he helped identify the genetic causes of cystic fibrosis, neurofibromatosis, and Huntington’s disease.


“Now, as national economic advisor, the constant focus is on anything and everything I can do at each and every moment to move the ball forward on jobs, on working training, on housing, on advanced manufacturing, on refinancing, on energy, on passing a balanced deficit reduction plan that still saves resources through entitlement and progressive tax reform while still investing in education and research and infrastructure.”

Gene B. Sperling has played a key role in addressing one of the greatest economic challenges since the Great Depression. He serves as director of President Obama’s National Economic Council, a position he also held during the Clinton Administration. He has also been a guest scholar at the Brookings Institution and a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress.


“We have to recognize that giving people education, economic opportunity, better health care, and so forth can all work to improve the quality of life and make sure that in prevention mode young people are getting the right message about what the future is.”

R. Gil Kerlikowske is director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy for the White House. He has focused on a holistic approach to combating drug use, such as advocating treatment and prevention programs and innovative criminal justice reforms that break the cycle of drug use, crime, and incarceration.


Lincoln Schatz is a contemporary American artist living in Chicago, Illinois. He is best known for his pioneering works that create portraits of people, places, and processes utilizing video and software to collect, store, and display images.

Work by Lincoln Schatz has been exhibited at the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery, Washington, DC; bitforms gallery, New York and Seoul; CONNERSMITH., Washington, DC; Armory Show, New York; Hearst Tower, New York; 21c, Cincinnati; Sundance Film Festival, Utah; Think 21 Contemporary, Brussels; PULSE, Miami; ARCO, Madrid; Catharine Clark Gallery, San Francisco; Gallery Simon, Seoul; Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego; Quint Contemporary Art, La Jolla.

His work is held in numerous international public and private collections including, US Dept. of State; Art Institute of Chicago; Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery; Hearst Corporation; San Jose Museum of Art; Glatzova & Co., Prague; Cafritz Collection, Washington, DC; Fundación Privada Sorigué, Lleida; Runnymede Sculpture Farm, Woodside; Ernesto Ventos Omedes, Barcelona; Fidelity Investment, Boston; and W Hotel, Seoul.

Interview by curator, Warren Perry, the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery


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