THE SNAIL AND THE RAZOR documents an interaction between a snail and an erect razor blade. Watching the video in real time is at once suspenseful, agonizing, humorous, heroic, suicidal, horrifying and ultimately transcendent. The action starts small, growing as we reflect on, and identify with, the journey of the slow-moving creature. It is a process of rewiring our cultural anticipation to violence with a scene where nothing happens.
Building up layers of simultaneous affect, this mesmerizing, silent, love song to the Albino California King snake is at once beautiful and startling, calming and jarring. It plays with the aesthetics of the attention-grabbing imagery of the media that saturates the Sunset Strip.
FAR FROM THE TREE documents the artist unsuccessfully bobbing for red apples; a performance that treads the line between the romantic nostalgia of a childhood game and the voyeuristic discomfort of observing someone struggle underwater. Jorgensen co-opts references to torture, rape culture and male violence to examine how the traditional female symbolism of the apple correlates to notions of force and extremism.
Like landing on the moon- democracy - a word coined in 5th century Athens - is an icon. As icons are symbols that flatten the nuances of what is represented, so do long held belief systems that have ceased to serve their function. Alsharif calls this piece a gesture towards undoing icons linked to ideas we have held onto for too long, in a moment, at a moment when sea changes are impending.
This subversive series is an allegory of Los Angeles; where the mundane and magical coexist. In this wry send-up of a theatrical movie trailer, Nikhil Murthy quietly contrasts apocalyptic Terminators and flirty Arcadian Adam and Eves, with the omnipresent invisible legion of Latino immigrants.
Kang Seung Lee - LEAVE OF ABSENCE
In commemoration of the 25-year anniversary of the Los Angeles Uprising (April 29—May 4, 1992), Kang Seung Lee writes a graphite elegy for the lives lost and communities destroyed. As the first multi-ethnic race conflict in the United States, The Los Angeles Uprising manifested the growing discontent between the residents of disadvantaged, working class neighborhoods and the immigrant, merchant class. Lee’s adopted home of Koreatown was particularly volatile, as business owners self-organized in response to police apathy.
In LEAVE OF ABSENCE, Lee employs digital removal of the human body as a method of exploring identity and story. With the removal of the self, Lee examines how bodies marked by difference are represented in the media during insurgency. “They” become the face of civic unrest; visual propaganda used to blame a city’s long-festering problems on their already marginalized residents. Lee’s work reveals a history of charged moments in our collective memory where the visual dissolve of latent figures make them even more potent in their absence.
IF Innovation Foundation, Los Angeles, is delighted to partner with the City of West Hollywood in presenting the work of AES+F. A series of 2 site-specific digital films specially commissioned by IF and the West Hollywood Art on the Outside program for the months of March and April on the tandem, 2-channel, digital billboard screens at 8410 Sunset Blvd. in West Hollywood. IF, Innovation Foundation Public Domain is known for bringing contemporary art into the landscape through their IF Public Domain initiative which produces and presents artistic and curatorial interventions in experimental contexts. As part of this on-going platform, AES+F’s Feast of Trimalchio airs at :54 to the hour from 5am until 3am, March 1st-April 30th, 2017.
THE FEAST OF TRIMALCHIO
Forty years after Federico Fellini’s Satyricon, AES+F reinvents the classical tale with The Feast of Trimalchio. Based on Cena Trimalchionis, a section in Satyricon in which the freed slave, Trimalchio takes center stage. AES+F refracts The Feast of Trimalchio through a canny lens; using it to examine issues of class, race, avarice, human trafficking, terrorism, immigration, global warming and the emerging financial dominance of the Eastern Hemisphere. Although the piece is not explicitly narrative, the viewer understands the ambiguous play of power and seduction that unfolds between the predatory 1% and the other 99.
JANE THE BAPTIST is a vehicle of visual, spatial and somatic texture, that drives us to truth -- ebullient, impermanent, in constant flux, and environmentally absurd. JANE THE BAPTIST is an energetic elegy to conservation in the face of instant gratification. Contradictions that correlate perfectly to iconic Sunset Blvd. Each is an impossible to resist, twinkly oasis. Yet behind the visual orgy of both, waits the toxic hangover. The prettier the soap, the harsher the chemicals. So we drink in the ritual and live vicariously. Immerse and emerge from this ecstatic, celebration reborn with a clear windshield, ready to navigate the challenging world on the horizon.
For the first time ever, we have the unusual opportunity to place an original piece of Virtual Reality, time-based media on the digital billboards on Sunset Boulevard. While an idea like this is tricky, confidence is strong, based on the impossibly rare combination of rigor and vision that the artist, Nancy Baker Cahill possesses. Cahill is a pioneer in so many ways. Certainly, she is technologically innovative, but more importantly she is insightful in her restraint. By abstractly deconstructing an explosive physical event or a nuanced emotion, there is space to bring our own ghosts into the room, so each experience is personal and uniquely intense. What is difficult to convey, is how emotional Cahill’s work becomes. Utterly now, the allusions to gunfire, the irreversibility of violence; her work evokes both wonder and helplessness. Cahill’s intention is total immersion. Her assertion is that empathy is only possible, absent distraction. Nancy Baker Cahill is an artist who sees the future, knows the opportunity, and understands the possibility of time-based media.
As the first installation of AOTO’s video billboard series, artist Jillian Mayer employs modern technology as an integral part of her creative mode. Mayer’s work is designed for broad appeal but asks big questions about human connection, existence and manufactured realities. The uber-hip packaging belies the subversive and unflinching images she presents to audiences.