An Order of Things Here

2002 – Raid Projects Artist-In-Residence – Los Angeles, California

  1. Around three-hundred photographs of travel snapshots all taken in and around the vicinity of Los Angeles county – including Las Vegas, the Mojave Desert and the Sierra Nevada Mountains of eastern California.
  2. Three six-foot by one-foot surfboard ”blanks” with three different color prints laminated on to the boards.
  3. Grey laboratory photographs – print-outs from experiments done in the 1960’s in Amsterdam
  4. Brown tarpaper covering gallery floor normally used for roof covering.

The snapshots have been cut up, pasted or taped together as a run-on sentence of places, observations, short visits and  impressions of nearly everything seen and done while I was living in Los Angeles. Images are assembled on a horizontal path which follows the timing of events and impressions more or less according to when they happened. City buildings, suburban landscapes, driving, highways, art openings, racetracks, social gatherings, beaches and desert are all included in this installation as an edited version of my daily life there.

As the eye begins from the left wall immediately at the entrance one sees these images quickly mutate into an a kaleidoscope of abstracted moments examined by way of odd juxtapositions; what begins as a time-line of clearly separate events and sights, gradually runs together in an endless stream of mixed and distorted information. Most of the photographs are missing a perfect circle that is then put either inside a petri dish or glued onto another snapshot. Placement is everything in this installation and helps to urge forward the visual wanderings throughout the room.

Some images have been arranged first onto 1960’s laboratory photographs and then glued to the wall: long rolls of grey paper showing the intense end erratic movements of a needle recording unknown information. (The Los Angeles audience was constantly reminded of earthquake seismographs or lie-detector test results) All photographs and collages have been directly taped to the walls in an uninterrupted strip and running the complete perimeter of the room.

On two of the walls are three six-foot surfboard ”blanks” (untreated specially cut and shaped styrofoam). Onto these surfboards are six-foot long color prints which have been laminated the full length of each board. They are hung horizontally and refer to a car’s rear-view mirror under the gallery lights. All three prints have been taken from 35mm negatives and then manipulated and stretched to the extreme giving each static scenario a feeling of speed and animation.

The gallery floor is covered with strips of sandy brown tarpaper normally used for roofing houses. It muffles sound and is meant to counter the noise that the visual traffic in the room implies.

Summary– l had in mind the hot tarmac and congested highways that are part of daily life in Los Angeles. After three months there, I had developed several stacks of photographs that I cut up and re-assembled into dozens of collages; a totally inaccurate and subjective retelling of edited memories. I also made a video which played in a loop in the corner of the space and which had little, if anything, to do with the other objects in the room. This oblique addition is the only physical part of the show that survived.

Postscript: In late 2003 a warehouse fire destroyed these artworks along with everything else in my studio, illustrating the longevity of animate memory vs inanimate material.

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