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Zoë Latzer is the Curator and Director of Public Programs at the Institute of Contemporary Art San José (ICA San José).

Growing up in Loomis, California, on the outskirts of Sacramento, Latzer became familiar with the concept of underrepresented narratives. Specifically, she became familiar with Loomis’ history with Chinese workers and a Chinatown that no longer exists. That experience with lesser-known history, her lifestyle, which includes practices from the Vedic cultures of India, and her passion for art history are all infused in her curatorial practices.

In primary school, Latzer received a Waldorf education focused on integrating art with interdisciplinary learning. Latzer later received a Bachelor of Arts in History of Art and Visual Culture from UC Santa Cruz and studied abroad at Sotheby’s Institute of Art in London. These experiences were foundational in her understanding of art in relation to culture and society and its potential for social commentary and reckoning with the past. Latzer also recalls visiting Michelangelo’s sculpture of David while visiting Florence, Italy, with family as a formative moment in her understanding of art history. That visit taught her the power and sublime quality art can have on culture through aesthetics and architecture.

Latzer’s curatorial practice involves world-building by installing immersive exhibitions that provide audiences with sensory experiences. Her approach is influenced by an openness gained from practicing Ayurveda and Yoga, sister sciences from the Vedic Culture of India related to tuning into one’s environment. That approach to well-being is reflected in curation that balances empathetic conversation and art history. Latzer tries to step out of the dichotomy of “I know” and “I don’t know” when approaching art, instead prioritizing care for the artists she works with.

Latzer hopes to facilitate a platform for underrepresented artists who address narratives that provide a more complete representation of history. Approaching curation with a focus on humanity, Latzer views a successful exhibition as one that uplifts the voice of an artist and creates space for the audience’s voice, creating a blend of conversation, proximity, dialogue, and community.

In this conversation, we discuss Latzer’s love for nature, her favorite artworks, the science of sad songs, and her current exhibition at ICA San José, a collaboration with Montalvo Arts Center.

Check out “P L A C E: Reckonings by Asian American Artist,” from March 23 through August 11, featuring eleven California-based Asian American artists and two artist collectives at the ICA San José in downtown San José.

Follow ICA at icasanjose

And Zoë at zoelatzer

Born in Mexico City and currently based in Silicon Valley, Taryn Curiel’s passion for art has been with her since early childhood and has culminated in a body of work filled with sensation and enigmatic energy. 

Techniques involving texture, lines, and a muted color palette help her in her signature use of the figure with abstract elements. Her medium is watercolor, but in her own way. With continued experimentation, she is always learning and exploring but remains true to her overall mission: to intrigue the viewer. 

Learn more about ⁠Silicon Valley Open Studios⁠.

Silicon Valley Open Studios 2024 takes place the first three weekends of May and showcases the studios of over 200 Silicon Valley Artists. Weekend three, May 18-19, will be hosted in the South Bay. Thirty-three artists at The Alameda Artworks in San José, including abstract watercolor painter Taryn Curiel, will open their studios to guests on May 18 and 19.

Follow Taryn at:

In this follow-up to Podcast #81, we reconnect with Marcus Lyon, artist, photographer, and founder of A Human Atlas, after completing his Silicon Valley project entitled De.Coded, which launched in October 2023.

In our conversation with Marcus, we talk about what he learned from his time with Silicon Valley change makers, how this project differed from previous experiences, the philosophy and design elements of the physical book, and what is on the horizon for A Human Atlas.

De.Coded is available to ⁠⁠⁠order⁠⁠⁠, and a companion app is available by searching De.Coded in ⁠⁠⁠Google Play⁠⁠⁠ or ⁠⁠⁠iTunes App Store⁠⁠⁠.

Some key takeaways from his time spent with the 101 Silicon Valley change-makers featured in De.Coded are the importance of Latino/Chicano culture and history in shaping the region, the rich diversity of cultures that have come together among various waves of immigration and migrations, themes of belonging, and a constant emphasis on refining the process behind A Human Atlas with a focus on context, equity, and authenticity.

Having completed A Human Atlas of Brazil, Germany, Detroit, and now Silicon Valley, Marcus Lyon is still grounded in what inspired his first project. As an Englishman married to a Brazilian with “Brazinglish” children, his initial concept, Somos Brasil (2016), which told the story of 104 extraordinary individuals creating social change across Brazil, was intended to develop a deep cultural immersion for his family. Originally intended as a one-off endeavor, Marcus began receiving requests for similar projects after its publication and recognition.

Currently, Marcus and his crew, including Joe Briggs-Price & Camila Pastorelli, are working on a new A Human Atlas project based in Los Angeles, entitled Alta / a Human Atlas of Los Angeles. 

Keep up with A Human Atlas and their team on Instagram and at their website:A Human Atlas@ahumanatlasMarcus Lyon@marcus_lyon  Joe Briggs-Price@joebriggsprice Camila Pastorellicamila_pastorelli 

Funding for De.Coded was provided by the David & Lucile Packard Foundation.

Nomination & fiscal support was provided by the American Leadership Forum (ALF).


Human Atlas projects are research-based, interdisciplinary explorations of the people of a specified geography. They are built on extensive nomination processes. A carefully curated group nominates individuals who are championing and driving social impact in all its forms: from public servants to entrepreneurs, from non-profit leaders and activists to artists and scientists. The projects then map these remarkable humans through photographic portraits, app-based oral histories, info-graphic mapping, and ancestral DNA. Human Atlas projects take on many digital forms but always begin as a published limited edition book and an interactive exhibition.

Check out Episode #81 on our ⁠blog⁠ or ⁠Spotify⁠ for full background on Marcus and his Career

Pictured: (L to R) Marcus Lyon and Camila Pastorelli⁠

Book images provided by Human Atlas.