"An Active Life" was not only my first Contemporary Arts Center exhibition, but it was my first time working with a designer whose digital camera was good enough to produce publishable images (it was Christian Wilhelmy's too). Christian proposed the brochure's flap to reinforce the exhibition's emphasis on actions (readers had to fold down the flap in order to access words hidden inside). As much as I had taught Hannah Arendt, its title's obvious connection to the Vita Activa registered years later, though it must have been a subconscious choice.
Although "An Active Life" was shallower than "Action Station: Exploring Open Systems," presented five years earlier at the Santa Monica Museum of Art, it was way more active, transforming the museum into a site that inadvertently challenged museum goers' expectations and comfort levels. Only five years earlier, the Santa Monica Museum had been so afraid of participatory art that no one was allowed to touch anything, leaving those who couldn't resist to do more damage than not. Only five years later, and in the midwest no less, no one was fearful and the show was a huge success (none of the art was damaged).