Nina Sarnelle “Nike X and my Dead Hand” @ OPaf 2019

Nina Sarnelle

Nike X and my Dead Hand

ELEVATOR MONDAYS is excited to announce Nike X and my Dead Hand a new site-specific video installation by Nina Sarnelle at Other Places art fair (OPaf). Building off her previous site-specific performance by the same name produced for OPaf 2018, Sarnelle will present a new, multi-channel iteration of her on-going research. Other Places art fair will take place March 16th and 17th, 2019, 12pm-5pm at Angels Gate Cultural Center, San Pedro.

Nike X and My Dead Hand is a research project in Air Force Blue — the color of the sky on a clear day. Conflating a history of basketball celebrity and sneaker design with the Cold War-era Nike Missile Defense system, the project centers around the site of a former Nike Missile Headquarters charged with protecting the Los Angeles area from aerial attack. Today there is a public basketball court at the site, an iconic filming location for commercials depicting fantasies of flight, indestructibility and arch support. A couple yards away sits the Korean Bell of Friendship, a gift from the South Korean government that, perhaps inadvertently, sends echos of apocalyptic 1950s militarism, reminding us of present-day tensions on the Korean peninsula.  

This project started with a simple pun—Nike Missile Defense, Nike footwear—but over time many layers of meaning have emerged. Nike is the Greek goddess of victory, a metaphor useful to branding both sporting goods and national security. Americans are taught from a very young age to value competition. This project attempts to destabilize this ideology underwritten by the free market, excavating a shared language of sports, capitalism and war.

Nike X and My Dead Hand is a site-specific video installation viewable across 3 separate displays installed throughout the Angels Gate Cultural Center campus. In order to find the videos, visitors will follow maps screen-printed on athletic socks. These limited edition prints, produced by ELEVATOR MONDAYS for this event, will be distributed by roaming gallery representatives throughout the fair. Only by exploring the site, and spending time with each video segment, will the viewer begin to see the full scope of this ambitious project.

Nina Sarnelle is a Los Angeles-based artist and musician. She received her BA from Oberlin College and an MFA from Carnegie Mellon University. A founding member of the Institute for New Feeling and dadpranks, her work has been shown at Whitechapel Gallery, Hammer Museum, Getty Center, Ballroom Marfa, MoMA (NY), Istanbul Modern, Neuer Berliner Kunstverein, Recess (NY), MAAT Lisbon, MWoods (Beijing) and Black Cube (Denver).

ELEVATOR MONDAYS is an artist-run curatorial project inside a converted freight elevator founded by artist Don Edler in 2017. The project focuses on bringing together working artists in a experimental social exhibition space to foster dialogue and community through exhibitions and special programing. ELEVATOR MONDAYS has exhibited over 75 artists across 20 exhibitions to date. ELEVATOR MONDAYS is open Mondays from 7PM-10PM and by appointment.

Many thanks to all of those who’ve made this project possible so far, including Casey Kaufmann, Jake Devito, Sara Drake, Don Edler, Genna Gmeiner, Keith Rocka Knittel, Frank Rodriguez and Angel’s Gate Cultural Center.  

Other Places art fair 2019

March 16 & 17, 12pm – 5pm

Battery Leary-Merriam

Angels Gate Park

3601 S Gaffey St

San Pedro, CA, 90731

Uncut

Uncut

Maura Brewer + Paul Pescador

ELEVATOR MONDAYS is pleased to present Uncut a single-channel video by Maura Brewer and Paul Pescador that responds to John Wayne Bobbitt’s 1996 pornographic film by the same name. Uncut is the 7th project in an ongoing series of holiday collaborations by Brewer and Pescador. Opening Monday, March 11th, the exhibition will be on view through April 18 to coincide with the Christian holiday Lent.

In their video, Brewer and Pescador revisit the 1993 crime and its aftermath. After cutting off John Wayne Bobbitt’s penis with a kitchen knife, Lorena Bobbitt became a symbol of the sex scandals of the early 1990s. Lorena, a victim of marital rape, was painted as both victim and perpetrator in the public eye. Subsequent to John Wayne’s surgical reconstruction, he attempted to capitalize on his new celebrity by restaging the incident for the 1996 adult film Uncut. In Brewer and Pescador’s video, the original film is used as source material to explore the relationship between survivor and abuser in the #metoo era.

This video will play on loop during Lent, a holiday in which something is given up. Signature cocktails will be served. Accompanying the exhibition will be an essay by Andy Campbell written for this exhibition.

Maura Brewer and Paul Pescador are visual artists who collaborate on holidays. Together, they make videos and performances at the intersection of politics and pop culture. These investigations have been presented at Roger’s Office, Machine Project, Human Resources, Women’s Center for Creative Work, Garden, and NAVEL in Los Angeles.

ELEVATOR MONDAYS is an artist-run curatorial project inside a converted freight elevator founded by artist Don Edler in 2017. The project focuses on bringing together working artists in a experimental social exhibition space to foster dialogue and community through exhibitions and special programing. ELEVATOR MONDAYS has exhibited over 70 artists across 19 exhibitions. ELEVATOR MONDAYS is open Mondays from 7PM-10PM and by appointment.

EM @ SPRING BREAK LA

ELEVATOR MONDAYS is excited to present DISSOCIATION featuring Cheryl Bentley and Artemisa Clark at Spring Break Art Show, Los Angeles. Working with Performance and Drawing influenced by bodily experience and classical literature, both artists will present unique interpretations of fact and fiction. By placing their own body at the center of their respective practices, each artist explores issues related to trauma, identity, and gender politics through an autobiographical voice.

In psychology, Dissociation is any of a wide array of experiences from mild detachment from immediate surroundings to more severe detachment from physical and emotional experiences. The major characteristic of all dissociative phenomena involves a detachment from reality, rather than a loss of reality as in psychosis.

Cheryl Bentley will present small, mixed media drawings informed by a melding of personal fantasy and personal trauma. These graphic drawings mix vibrant, psychedelic colors with claustrophobic scenes to create dark but highly cerebral images. Artemisa Clark will present “And those in the city, who were in the streets below, shot at the women with arrows and darts, which pierced them through the sides, so that they received many wounds, because their golden armor was so weak.” a durational performance in which Clark lies on the gallery floor naked and covered in gold body paint. The viewer is invited to lay on the floor to make eye-contact with Clark. Inspired by the work of 16th century Spanish writer Garci Rodríguez de Montalvo, Clark’s performance references a scene from “Las Sergas de Esplandián” (1510) in which an army of all female warriors from the mythical island of California are convinced to leave their home for the first time to fight with the Moors in a Reconquista-era battle. Their gold armor proves to be too soft to protect them, and many fall. This story of a golden army is thought to have inspired the naming of the California peninsula. Clark’s work, originally commissioned for the “MexiCali Biennial: CALAFIA: Manifesting the Terrestrial Paradise” (2018), imagines two of those fallen soldiers in the last moments before their deaths, each keeping the other alive through their gazes. By asking the audience to lay down across from her, acting as a proxy for her fellow soldier, Clark is subverting capitalist, patriarchal ideologies that determine who is granted subjecthood and what the performance of that subjecthood is expected to look like.

Cheryl Bentley is an interdisciplinary artist whose deeply private work is often influenced by spirituality and survival. Bentley has exhibited with Central Park, Los Angeles; Junior projects, NY; and 80WSE, NY. Bentley received a MFA In studio art from New York University and a BFA from the University of California, Berkeley. Bentley lives and works in Los Angeles, CA.

Artemisa Clark is a Los Angeles-based multidisciplinary artist and performance studies scholar. Clark’s work uses historical and personal archives to highlight the mundane and continual nature of violence against the Chicanx, female body. Often working in performance, Clark embodies and celebrates abjection as a site of survival, creation, and subject formation. Clark has exhibited at MOCA, The Hammer, Armory Center for the Arts, CalArts, the Vincent Price Art Museum, the Hemispheric Institute of Performance and Politics, SOMA, and Commonwealth & Council, Los Angeles. Clark received a MA in performance studies from Northwestern University and A MFA in visual arts from the University of California, San Diego. Clark lives and works between Los Angeles, CA and Riverside, CA.
ELEVATOR MONDAYS is an artist-run curatorial project inside a converted freight elevator founded by artist Don Edler in 2017. The project focuses on bringing together working artists in a experimental social exhibition space to foster dialogue and community through exhibitions and special programing. ELEVATOR MONDAYS has exhibited over 70 artists across 19 exhibitions. ELEVATOR MONDAYS is open Mondays from 7PM-10PM and by appointment. Spring Break Art Show Los Angeles features 40+ LA-based curators and artist-run spaces. Opening Friday, February 15th, 5pm-9pm, Spring Break is on view February 16th and 17th, 12 noon-8pm at 1925 E 8th Street, DTLA. Tickets are available at http://www.springbreakartshow.com/

PSYCHENETICS: Beyond The Great Filter

EM_16_PSYCHENETICS_no text.jpg

“So Far, to my knowledge, biotechnics is doing the same thing natural evolution does – variational creativity, the sole difference being that it does its work not by chance but according to a deliberate program. Yet there is no reason why the material and the structure of genetic information should not be interfered with in the future. And if even a single atom within a molecule of a nucleic acid were replaced by a different atom, we would have created a form of life as it had never existed before in the world.”

Flusser, Vilem. “On Discovery III.” Art Forum Essays, edited by Martha Schwendener, Metaflux, 2017, pp. 80-81.

“According to Chinese medical documents posted online this month (here and here), a team at the Southern University of Science and Technology, in Shenzhen, has been recruiting couples in an effort to create the first gene-edited babies. They planned to eliminate a gene called CCR5 in hopes of rendering the offspring resistant to HIV, smallpox, and cholera.”

Regalado, Antonio. “Chinese Scientists are creating CRISPR babies.” MIT Technology Review. November 25, 2018.

https://www.technologyreview.com/s/612458/exclusive-chinese-scientists-are-creating-crispr-babies/

“The researcher, He Jiankui of Shenzhen, said he altered embryos for seven couples during fertility treatments, with one pregnancy resulting thus far. He said his goal was not to cure or prevent an inherited disease, but to try to bestow a trait that few people naturally have — an ability to resist possible future infection with HIV, the AIDS virus.”

Marchione, Marilynn. “Chinese researcher claims first gene-edited babies.” AP News. November 26, 2018.

https://www.apnews.com/4997bb7aa36c45449b488e19ac83e86d

PSYCHENETICS: Beyond The Great Filter

Liv Aanrud, Jenn Berger, Casey Kauffmann, Tynan Kerr, Adam D. Miller, Theo Triantafyllidis, John Zane Zappas.

The second law of thermodynamics dictates that nothing lasts forever. Although it is easy to ignore the finality of what this fundamentally simple natural law implies about our culture and it’s future, it behooves all humankind to pay attention to what is coming, whatever form it may take. As we collectively drift ever closer to the edge of existence on planet Earth, might it be time to consider what comes next? Will we find our savior among the stars? Will we miraculously manage to save our planet before it is too late? Or will we be able to change ourselves sufficiently to make life on a toxic, desert Earth possible?

How will future generations look back at their predecessors? Will Homo sapiens be viewed as foolish, egotistical apes that destroyed their Eden through violence and greed? Or will our Post-human descendants understand our plight and acknowledge that we were never really mentally or emotionally fit to carry the burden of planetary stewardship…?

ELEVATOR MONDAYS is excited to announce PSYCHENETICS: Beyond The Great Filter, the third and final installment of The Great Filter Trilogy. Building on the multi-chapter narrative arch established by EX NIHILO, and DEATH SHOW, PSYCHENETICS is a speculative interpretation of a psychedelic, post-human future. The group exhibition features Los Angeles-based artists working in a variety of media including painting, drawing, textiles, collage, sculpture and interactive new media. The exhibition opens Monday, January 21st, 7-10pm and will be on view through March 4th, 2019.

Liv Aanrud is a painter and textile artist that utilizes airbrushing and traditional rag-rug hooking to make vivid figurative scenes on burlap. Jenn Berger is an interdisciplinary artist working between drawing, sculpture and animatronics to create uncanny interpretations of everyday life that utilize a range of self-taught processes. Casey Kauffmann utilizes imagery inspired by reality TV and social media culture to inform her collages and drawings. Kauffmann is widely known for her feminist instagram persona @uncannysfvalley. Tynan Kerr is a painter, sculptor and designer that experiments with non-traditional materials and processes to make dense, dreamlike compositions influenced by alternative philosophies. Adam D. Miller makes drawings, zines, and sculptures informed by an amalgam of pop- and counter-culture references. Miller is a co-founder of The Pit, a contemporary art gallery in LA founded in 2014. Theo Triantafyllidis is a new media artist working in VR, AR and simulated environments; his work explores the influence of the internet and algorithmic systems in the 21st century. John Zane Zappas is a sculptor and amateur botanist who works in natural materials and forms inspired by whimsical ergonomics and functionality. Zappas is the founder of John Pots, a studio for contemporary handmade vessels.


ELEVATOR MONDAYS is an artist-run curatorial project inside a converted freight elevator founded by Don Edler. The project focuses on bringing together working artists in a social exhibition space to foster dialogue and community through exhibitions and special programing. ELEVATOR MONDAYS is open Mondays from 7PM-9PM and by appointment.

DEATH SHOW

“Using methods from dynamical systems theory, we introduce and analyze a suite of simple equations modeling a population which consumes resources for the purpose of running a technological civilization and the feedback those resources drive on the state of the host planet. The feedbacks can drive the planet away from the initial state the civilization originated in and into domains that are detrimental to its sustainability.”

 

Frank A. Carroll-Nellenback, J. Alberti M. and Kleidon A. (2018). “The Anthropocene Generalized: Evolution of Exo-Civilizations and Their Planetary Feedback”. Astrobiology. https://doi.org/10.1089/ast.2017.1671.

 

DEATH SHOW

 

Ian Hokin, Ian James, Mervin Jules, Erin Morrison, Molly Surazhsky, Pamela Valfer

 

The Rapa Nui people of Easter island are perhaps most well known for their monolithic human figures the Moai. These mysterious carved effigies could weigh in excess of 80 tonnes and have fascinated archaeologists and tourists for centuries. But for Astrobiologists, the Rapa Nui represent an uncanny model civilization, one that once thrived, but then collapsed. It is believed that Poleponesian people began colonizing Easter island around 400-700 CE, the abundant natural resources and comfortable climate made Easter island an ideal environment for an isolated civilization to flourish. The extremely remote island was effectively a closed ecosystem with minimal trade or communication with the outside world. By 1,200 CE the Rapa Nui had developed a highly sophisticated culture with a thriving population of 10,000 people that lasted until about 1,500 CE, it was during this time that many of the Moai were erected. By the time Europeans arrived at Easter Island in 1722, the population had fallen to 2,000. This type of collapse is consistent with population models that approximate the effects of over-consumption of natural resources within a closed biosphere. It is believed that the Rapa Nui depleted their available resources while destroying their environment, and once they did so, they lacked the technical capacity to to save their civilization. Once they realized that they were in trouble, it was too late.

 

ELEVATOR MONDAYS is excited to announce DEATH SHOW, the second chapter of THE GREAT FILTER TRILOGY. Building on the narrative arch that began with our previous exhibition, EX NIHILO, DEATH SHOW explores the long-term repercussions, or Planetary Feedback that may face a technologically sophisticated civilization that harvests energy from the finite natural resources of its biosphere. Inlight of the recent IPCC report on Climate Change it has become unreasonable to ignore the coming mortal impact of global warming, this exhibition attempts to serve as a reminder that all stories must end.

 

Come celebrate Halloween and the first day of Dia de Muertos with us for a special Wednesday Opening this Wednesday, Oct 31, 7-10pm. Costumes are encouraged, please BYOB. DEATH SHOW will be on view Mondays and by appointment through December 10th.

 

Ian Hokin is a painter who combines a comics-inspired graphic style with viruostic technical ability to create humorous and contemplative scenes often involving stylized characters and personal allegory. Ian James is a interdisciplinary photographer whose shamanic photo-objects often combine images with custom supports and found material to create new-age reliquaries. In addition to his art production, James is founder of Leroy’s (happy place) in Chinatown. Mervin Jules was an American Social Realist painter active from 1935 until his death in 1994. Erin Morrison makes low-relief sculpture cast in plaster that reflect her relationship to feminism and Los Angeles flora. Morrison is founding member of Gallery Artist Reform, Los Angeles, or GAR_LA. Molly Surazhsky returns for with a new iteration of her wall vinyl Mashacare with Bull, 2018 originally featured in EX NIHILO. Pamela Valfer is an interdisciplinary artist working primarily between video and installation, her research-based practice often combines vernacular media with political critique through subtle architectural interventions.

 

ELEVATOR MONDAYS is an artist-run curatorial project inside a converted freight elevator founded by Don Edler. The project focuses on bringing together working artists in a social exhibition space to foster dialogue and community through exhibitions and special programing. ELEVATOR MONDAYS is open Mondays from 7PM-10PM and by appointment.

EX NIHILO

“Where is everybody?

 

Jones, E. M. (1985). “”Where is everybody?” An account of Fermi’s question”” . Los Alamos National Laboratory. OSTI 785733. http://www.osti.gov/accomplishments/documents/fullText/ACC0055.pdf

 

“No alien civilizations have substantially colonized our solar system or systems nearby. Thus among the billion trillion stars in our past universe, none has reached the level of technology and growth that we may soon reach. This one data point implies that a Great Filter stands between ordinary dead matter and advanced exploding lasting life. And the big question is: How far along this filter are we?”

 

Hanson, Robin (1998). “The Great Filter — Are We Almost Past It?”. http://mason.gmu.edu/~rhanson/greatfilter.html

 

EX NIHILO

In 1996 economics professor and researcher Robin Hanson authored a paper that asked why we have yet to encounter intelligent extraterrestrial life. Building off a decades old question first proposed by physicist Enrico Fermi at the Los Alamos National Laboratory in 1950, Hanson argued that given the relative ease with which intelligent life seems to have  formed on Earth in terms of biology, and given the abundance (billions) of Earth-like planets in the universe, statistically speaking, there should be a (very) high probability of intelligent life developing somewhere among the nearly infinite expanse of space and time – So why haven’t we found them yet? Hanson’s paper proposed that somewhere along the biological or technological development of civilizations, there must be a mechanism that interferes with their development and prevents them from achieving the capacity for interstellar travel, colonization and/or communication, Hanson called this mechanism The Great Filter.

 

ELEVATOR MONDAYS is proud to announce EX NIHILO the first chapter in THE GREAT FILTER TRILOGY an exhibition of three interconnected shows that will unfold over the course of 20 weeks. Each chapter of the trilogy will deal with a different set of cultural and political concerns presented against the backdrop of evolving American identity. EX NIHILO is latin for “out of nothing,” it is often used to evoke divine creation or genesis.

 

EX NIHILO features six emerging Los Angeles-based artists working in painting, social practice, sculpture and drawing. The exhibition was curated around the idea of birth and beginning – How do we start the stories we tell? Where does our history begin?

 

Cheryl Bentley is a interdisciplinary artist whose graphite drawings interrogate the physiological origins of our collective and personal traumas. Adam de Boer  paints his Dutch-Indonesian heritage through vibrate portraits that blend western oil painting with traditional Indonesian batik processes. Nina Hartmann is a printmaker and designer, her layered paintings incorporate archival images she collects and silk-screens onto hand-dyed supports. Alyssa Rogers is a painter whose eclectic style dives deep into her own subconscious often combining images from her dreams and memories. Molly Surazhsky combines her Russian heritage with contemporary influences to create social interventions that challenge the corporatization of our lives. Sarah Ann Weber is a painter whose large scale panels often combine painting and drawing to create floral all-over compositions inspired by impressionism and the California landscape.

 

ELEVATOR MONDAYS is an artist-run curatorial project inside a converted freight elevator founded by Don Edler. The project focuses on bringing together working artists in a social exhibition space to foster dialogue and community through exhibitions and special programing. ELEVATOR MONDAYS is open Mondays from 7PM-10PM and by appointment.

BOOTLEG CINEMA

BOOTLEG CINEMA

Co-organized by Hunter Shaw and ELEVATOR MONDAYS

 

Part 1: Aug 20, 12pm-12am

Part 2: Aug 27, 12pm-12am

ELEVATOR MONDAYS is proud to announce BOOTLEG CINEMA a special 2-part screening event co-organized by Hunter Shaw and ELEVATOR MONDAYS. Split into two 12-hour screenings at our new, air conditioned DIY movie theater, BOOTLEG CINEMA offers a respite to the summer heat and recent demise of MoviePass. Inspired by the films and videos that shaped the organizer’s understanding of the moving image, BOOTLEG CINEMA will showcase a series of hard-to find and less-known films and videos over the course of 12-hour grindhouse style screenings. Each line-up will be announced the night before the screening, stay tuned for more info.

 

Hunter Shaw is a curator and art dealer based in Los Angeles. Shaw holds a BFA in film studies from NYU Tisch school of film and television, New York. Prior to opening his commercial gallery Hunter Shaw Fine Art in Los Angeles, Shaw curated film programing for Farewell books, Austin and Violet Crown Cinema, Austin.

 

ELEVATOR MONDAYS is an artist-run curatorial project inside a converted freight elevator founded by Don Edler. The project focuses on bringing together working artists in a social exhibition space to foster dialogue and community through exhibitions and special programing. ELEVATOR MONDAYS is open Mondays from 7PM-10PM and by appointment.

Every Fiber of My Being

 

Fiona Annis, Ursula Handleigh, Terrance Houle, Justin Waddell

 

Curated by Stephanie Deumer

 

July 9-August 6, 2018

Opening reception: July 9, 7pm-10pm

 

ELEVATOR MONDAYS

1026 Venice Blvd, Suite E

Los Angeles, CA 90015

 

Every Fiber of My Being brings together four Canadian artists whose work addresses inherited regional, immigrant, and indigenous experiences in Canada. The photographic and time-based pieces engage in political and geographical environments, the poetics of memory, and the humor of coping mechanisms, all through various lenses and processes.

 

Ursula Handleigh’s Needlework (2016) contemplates inherited ancestral stories from England and the Philippines. By way of camera-less photography, Handleigh stitches images of family members into blank pieces of photographic paper, and then floats them in developing baths in the darkroom. Through this process, the stitching absorbs the liquid developer along the lines of the sewn image, which then bleeds onto the photo paper, creating a line drawing that is both representational and poetic in its reference to bloodlines, inheritance, and the transferring of memory.

 

Justin Waddell’s practice also engages in family archive, focusing on a Japanese internment camp where his relatives were held in British Columbia. Photographing Canadian-mined clay draped over objects recovered from the historical site, his images recall the dilapidated tents and terrifying living conditions in which detainees were forced to live.

 

With the use of an ice fishing tent, Fiona Annis develops analog photography immediately on-site during shoots, producing images in the same environment and setting that they visually represent. The fishing tent, a provisional and fibrous structure, is not an ideal darkroom, and thus creates challenges for developing images. In Untitled (shadows, signs, wonders – No. 2) (2013) Annis exposed a piece of photographic paper for a period of time inside the tent, in turn capturing the light-leaks and phantom images of the surrounding exterior landscape.

 

In Aakaisttsiiksiinaakii: Many Snake Woman: “The Daughters After Me” (2008), Terrance Houle references a painting of his grandmother, May Weaselfat, made by European romantic-style painter Reinhold Reiss. For the sitting, Reiss provided Weaselfat with a prop—a blanket draped over her—to depict her as a “noble savage.” Houle’s video features female family members, including his grandmother, mother, sister, and daughter, sitting for portraits in a similar pose, and draped in a similar blanket. While the work attempts to honor the women in his family, it also interrogates the inescapable and perpetual Western image of the “vanishing Indian.”

 

Stephanie Deumer (b.1989, Oakville, Ontario) is a Canadian artist currently living and working in Los Angeles. In 2018 she participated in The Dark Arts Residency at the Banff Center for Arts and Creativity in Alberta, and was awarded a 2018 Artist Grant from Bar-Fund LA. Currently, her work is on display in Far from Fixed at Modern Fuel Artist-Run Center in Kingston, Ontario. Recent exhibitions include CO/LAB III, Torrance Art Museum, Torrance (2018); Real Shadows for Mere Bodies, College of the Canyons, Valencia (2017); and The Body of Language and The Motion of Words, PAVED Arts, Saskatoon (2017). Deumer received a BA at the University of Guelph, an MFA at California Institute of the Arts, and will be a 2018/2019 attendee of the Whitney ISP in New York.

ELEVATOR MONDAYS is an artist-run curatorial project inside a converted freight elevator founded by Don Edler. The project focuses on bringing together working artists in a social exhibition space to foster dialogue and community through exhibitions and special programing. ELEVATOR MONDAYS is open Mondays from 7pm-10pm and by appointment.

Relative Space

Relative Space

 

Victoria Fu

Chandler McWilliams

Alison O’Daniel

Debra Scacco

LeRoy Stevens

Mungo Thomson

 

Curated by Asha Bukojemsky

Look again at that dot. That’s here. That’s home. That’s us.

                                                                                                           – Carl Sagan, Pale Blue Dot, 1994

In 1977, a man and a woman go for a lakeside picnic in Chicago. They bring with them the usual provisions: blanket, pillows, picnic basket, and reading material including Scientific America and The Voices of Time. Music plays, and a narrator begins to describe the scene as a mathematical lesson. This is, after all, a short film produced by Charles & Ray Eames to explain “the relative size of things in the universe”. In Powers of Ten, the lens zooms away from the picnic and deep into the galaxy, only to race back to earth and end up as a DNA particle floating in another expansive internal space. While the film served as a visual tool for mathematical and scientific learning, what it really taught us was about the relativity of self.

Unifying the distant cosmos and depths of our own bodies into one vast, imagined space, Ray & Charles Eames produced a film that was as much about phenomenological imagination as it was about math. Taking a similar approach, the exhibition Relative Space brings together six artists that each investigate the power of perception and the relativity of self, adopting a zoom in/zoom out method that analyzes the spaces of our perceived reality and the structures that determine them.

I am the space where I am. [1]

In LeRoy Stevens’ video Cosmos, the artist takes the soundtrack from Carl Sagan’s iconic show (Cosmos: A Personal Voyage) and plays it over muted commercials that aired during an episode of the 2014 remake (Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey). Separating the cosmic music from its designated source, Stevens reveals how this acousmatic sound gives weight and sensation to an otherwise silent space. Stripping away the commercial’s original sound, Stevens exposes the advertising systems in place, as well as our own ability to fill in what we can’t hear. The very same language used to illustrate the cosmos by Sagan is used to describe a Samsung device and a Carls Jr burger, while Red Bull promises to “gives you wings” and skittles lets you “touch the rainbow.” By contrasting the epic scale instilled by the soundtrack against vapid depictions of a life better lived, Cosmos presents a sum that is better than any of the individual parts.

In Upside Down, Inner Ear 2 Alison O’Daniel takes the silicon casts made for hearing aids from the ears of Deaf and Hard of Hearing individuals who see the same audiologist as the artist, and plates them in bronze. In doing so, the artist bears physical and metaphorical weight to that which was previously concealed. Separating the inner ear from its place of origin and rendering it as a visual object, O’Daniel presents the manifestation of a certain experience of sound within a field of vision. O’Daniel, in turn, materializes sound and demonstrate the power of “hearing oneself seeing… hearing ourselves listen.”[2]

Illuminating the negative, Mungo Thomson’s Dark Matter presents a reverse image of a nighttime sky. Printed on photo-luminescent ink, the work recalls glow-in-the-dark stickers placed in childhood bedrooms, yet in this case it is not the stars that glow but the mass of space that surrounds them. Here the stars recede, and Dark Matter illuminates an otherwise dark space with a negative version of night. Presenting a starry sky like a map to our subjective unconscious, Thomson ironically plays with both subject and object, recalling nighttime fears and the cheap tricks our parents used to make us feel safe.

In Points Prized Open, Chandler McWilliams examines the space between language and imagination. Using unlit, clear neon’s, the artist places two words – Almost Nothing – one on top of the other. Playing with language, McWilliams investigates the invisible power of words to both transform and transport our sense of the world. In remaining unlit, the neon’s spectacle is removed and reveals that which is barely there, while also calling attention to the power of light & color to sway our innermost desires.

Mimicking video projections onto a wall, Victoria Fu’s Large Circle 4 plays to our perceptive powers and the imagined spaces of digital reality. As if taking a photograph from one of her video projections, Fu presents an oval gradient color field within the corner of two walls. Like a passing light, the work is both fleeting while also immobilized.  In positioning the work in-between, Fu presents this blurred image both temporally and spatially. This corner, a “symbol of solitude for the imagination”[3] allows for the mundane extracted digital image to capture a moment unto itself, as though to communicate a sense of individuality within a stream of visual data.

In the Eames’s Powers of Ten, space is measured in seconds. With each ten seconds the square that frames the picnic produces another square, on and on until the lines of demarcation become mere drawings in space. In The Letting Go, Debra Scacco applies a similar process of repetitive amplification to chart her personal trajectory through time and space. Using metallic ink on black paper the artist draws 19 lines within seven groupings that each refer to a boundary significant to her history. Resembling computer-generated images of constellations, the drawings read like spatial maps, reducing time and space to singular lines.

While Relative Space presents a reconsideration of the Eames’s Powers of Ten, the title for this show is in no less an homage to the very space it inhabits- an elevator. A device used to transport and deliver. With exception to the occasional fleeting act of fantasy, the elevator is not a meeting place, a safe space, a designated space or a particularly pleasurable space. If an elevator is a space at all it is a relative one, where its own references and lack of designation simultaneously call to mind the corners and “outside” spaces referred to by Bachelard, as well as conjuring the cosmos and digital realities we embrace.

Asha Bukojemsky is an independent curator living in Los Angeles. Current projects include MARATHON SCREENINGS, a monthly salon-style presentation of video and conceptual film, and LA Transcendental Listenings, a series of conceptual walks throughout the LA region in collaboration with the artist David Horvitz. Recent exhibitions include Labor Day at Chicken Coop Contemporary, Portland, OR, and PARATEXTUAL at Samuel Freeman Gallery, Los Angeles.

ELEVATOR MONDAYS is an artist-run curatorial project inside a converted freight elevator founded by Don Edler. The project focuses on bringing together working artists in a social exhibition space to foster dialogue and community through exhibitions and special programing. ELEVATOR MONDAYS is open Mondays from 7PM-10PM and by appointment.

[1] Gaston Bachelard, The Poetics of Space, trans Maria Jolas (New York: Penguin Books, 2014), p156

[2] Gaston Bachelard, The Poetics of Space, trans Maria Jolas (New York: Penguin Books, 2014), p199

[3] Gaston Bachelard, The Poetics of Space, trans Maria Jolas (New York: Penguin Books, 2014), p154

The exhibition will be on view Mondays7-10pm and by appointment through June 25th.