Asking, a temporary public installation created by Christopher W. White

A procedure, an illumination, an homage, a meeting, a transmission.

Location: Frank H. Ogawa Plaza, Oakland

Dates: June 27th – June 29th, 2018

On view: 1:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.

FREE and Open to the Public


Asking is a performance and public installation dedicated to the power of questions. Audiences are invited to contribute their own inquiries, if they so choose: to illuminate another person’s experience, to seek answers, to simply contemplate the unanswerable. Inspired in part by Quaker practices to reach difficult decisions and by an impromptu seance in a decommissioned military gym, both the performance and installation tempt audiences to quiet themselves and contemplate the unknown and unknowable.

Together, the performance and installation provoke audiences to consider the place our contemplative, vulnerable selves have within a larger society. What are the benefits and concomitant risks of sharing those aspects of ourselves publicly? What do we sacrifice by inhibiting them, as our high-speed society demands?

Oakland-based performance/theater artist and writer Christopher W. White makes work that reconfigures audience/performer boundaries and interrogates unacknowledged undercurrents to the American national psyche. As co-founding Artistic Director of SF’s experimental ensemble Mugwumpin, he co-created over 20 works, including Blockbuster Season, Luster (Asian Art Museum), The Great Big Also (Z Space), Future Motive Power. He was a 2016 Artist in Residence at Headlands Center for the Arts. Other collaborators: Campo Santo, Shotgun Players, EmSpace Dance, Magic Theater, Banana Bag & Bodice, SF Opera. White is also a bike advocate and educator with the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition. Publications: American Theatre, TheatreForum, Howlround.  MFA: Naropa University/LISPA; BA: Yale University.


This program was developed in coordination with the Public Art Program and the Cultural Affairs Division of the City of Oakland.

Asking was originally created in residency at the Headlands Center for the Arts. Asking at Pro Arts Gallery is a recipient of The Kenneth Rainin Foundation, NEW Program award and funded in part with a grant by The Zellerbach Family Foundation and The Fleishhacker Foundation.


What are my transportation/parking options for getting to and from the event?

Public Transport:
• To get to Pro Arts using BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit), get off at the 12th Street station and exit via “Frank H Ogawa Plaza.”
• For Local AC Transit buses Lines Call 510-817-1717 (+1111) for schedules. On weekdays and weekend evenings, the Free Broadway Shuttle runs past Pro Arts every 20 minutes up and down Broadway from 26th to Jack London.

Street parking is available surrounding Frank H. Ogawa Plaza. Paid lots are also available.

How can I contact the organizer with any questions?

Phone: (510) 763-4361 | Email: