Lianne Thompson Mueller is the education director at A Ship in the Woods, an experimental arts group in Del Mar, California. Before joining a Zócalo panel discussion about the future of the arts in San Diego—“Will San Diego Ever Become a Great Art City?”—she talked in the Zócalo green room about designing a website for NASA, breaking her tibia, and the reason why she doesn’t have thousands of tattoos.
What kind of ship is A Ship in the Woods?
It’s a school to adjudicate its voyagers. It’s an investigative ship, with a laboratory in which people are able to build whatever they dream of building.
What’s a cool interactive project you’ve designed?
NASA wanted an interactive website for its Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) program, which basically grabs sounds from the universe. At the time I was working on it, the internet had just started.
You worked for the Oakland Zoo. What’s your favorite zoo animal?
What’s the best birthday you’ve ever had?
Canoeing down the Russian River in Northern California.
When’s the last time you threw a snowball?
This year. I went up into the mountains and the snow was falling down like crazy.
Have you ever broken a bone?
I fractured my tibia once, while studying in Spain. I was running to get to class, and I fell into a gigantic hole.
If someone made a reality TV show about your life, what would you want its title to be?
Do you have any tattoos?
No, though I should probably have thousands. My mom was really strict.
If you had to work in a field totally removed from the arts, what would you choose?
I’d want to be a scientist. I’m really into visual perception. I also really love social psychology.
How many colors has your hair been?
Five. I alternate. The only color I haven’t had is green.