Landscape & Life
Unseen California engages the public land of California as an outdoor artist studio and classroom laboratory by inviting artists to collaborate in research and create site specific art. In its inaugural cohort, Unseen California aims to “see” (by means of visualization and acknowledgement) the multivalent histories that compose the California landscape. This includes indigenous stewardship and regenerative practices – on ceded and unceded land – and the role of settler colonialism and imperialism in construction of these histories. The project will be represented here by artists and organizers Karolina Karlic, Aspen Mays, and Mercedes Dorame.
One of the leading curatorial platforms for contemporary field recording practices, Touch has spent the last 40 years releasing work exploring the sounds hidden in hard-to-reach places. Releases include Norwegian artist Jana Winderen’s recordings of creatures beneath the arctic ice, field recordist Chris Watson’s recordings of multiple layers of the Namib Desert, and many others. Touch will be represented by artists Patrick Shiroishi and Bana Haffar.
Indexical’s year-long exhibition series Landscape & Life concludes with Alaska Variations, a multichannel audiovisual installation by Canadian artist Paul Walde. The 72-minute work includes videography of the Glen Alps in Anchorage Alaska, where the flora at high altitude is in flux due to climate change. These images of flora are translated into standard musical notation based on the distribution of the vegetation, with each species represented by a group of instruments. In Walde’s work, classical instrumentation is used as a cultural signifier in contrast to information found in nature. This juxtaposition of the “natural” world—as affected by human-created climate change—with an anthropocentric, constructed musical language complicates our assumptions about the separation between what is natural and what is built.
Indexical’s Landscape & Life Speaker Series continues with a panel featuring artist Louise Leong; poet, artist and abolitionist Tim Young; artist Aja Bond; and farmer Kellee Matsushita-Tseng.
Artists Raven Chacon and Guillermo Galindo bridge worlds of contemporary sound art, acoustic composition, noise, Indigenous activism, and visual art. Their projects and collaborations draw on Indigenous and Mexican symbology and ritual items, activating amplified objects, as well as a long history of American experimental music stemming from John Cage and subsequent composers. They were both commissioned by the Kronos Quartet’s 50 for the Future Project, and have been presented by documenta 14 (Germany), Western Front (Vancouver), and many other venues. The performance will be followed by a Q&A with the artists and curator Gabriel Saloman Mindel.
As part of the ongoing exhibition of Raven Chacon’s work, Indexical is presenting a live performance of his graphic score American Ledger No. 1 (2018), outdoors at the Tannery Arts Center in Santa Cruz. This work is meant to be performed by “many players with sustaining and percussive instruments, coins, axe and wood, a police whistle, and a match.” Performances will occur twice throughout the First Friday arts event at the Tannery Arts Center, at both 6:00pm and 7:30pm. Each performance is approximately 20 minutes long.
Adrian Drummond-Cole is an interdisciplinary environmental historian and doctoral candidate in the History of Consciousness Department at the University of California, Santa Cruz. He researches the science, politics, and cultures of water management in California’s Central Valley, focusing on settler social movements for swampland reclamation and agricultural irrigation. Adrian teaches courses on environmental history, media studies, and human geography.
For the second iteration of the exhibition series Landscape & Life we proudly present the work of Diné artist, composer and educator Raven Chacon. Indexical will be exhibiting two works by Chacon, including his early photo and sound series Field Recordings (1999) which depict three sites from the Southwestern U.S. noted for their quietude: Canyon de Chelly, Window Rock and the Sandia Mountains. Chacon’s phonography amplifies these quiet spaces to maximum volume, reducing them to noise while simultaneously revealing colors and patterns that might otherwise go undetected. Also on view will be a reproduction of American Ledger No. 1 (2018), a graphic score meant to be performed by “many players with sustaining and percussive instruments, coins, axe and wood, a police whistle, and a match.”
Suzy Poling (aka Pod Blotz) and Paige Emery return to Indexical to close out their installment of Landscape & Life with live performances and a conversational artist talk with curator Gabriel Saloman Mindel. Poling’s electronic music performances as Pod Blotz have been featured at Recombinant Media Labs Festival, Hospital Productions Festival, Contemporary Jewish Museum, Colour out of Space Festival, San Francisco Electronic Music Festival, and many other sites.
Join us for a “First Friday” opening of the new exhibition series “Landscape & Life,” in Indexical’s studio space at the Tannery Arts Center. This first exhibition features new work by LA-based artists Paige Emery and Suzy Poling (aka Pod Blotz), and will feature sound and performances by both artists throughout the exhibition’s run.