ONE-HUNDRED-SIXTY-ONE-YEAR EXPOSURE/ONE HUNDRED TWENTY-FIFTH
OF A SECOND EXHIBITION
Track 16 Presents
On May 21, 2005, Track 16 Gallery will show artist team Nicholas Lowie and Sheridan Lowrey’s suite of projects and release an attendant book of relevant essays published by Smart Art Press. The exhibition will run from May 21, 2005, through June 11, 2005, with an opening reception on May 21 from 6 to 9 P.M.
As a means to contextualize the exhibits, a description of the book is in order. In five short essays, Lowie/Lowrey undertake a radical (re)reading of both Marcel Duchamp’s oeuvre and the infamous L.A.- based Museum of Jurassic Technology (MJT). They have used one hermetic project to “expose” another. Lowie/Lowrey have made uncommon use of the art historical concept of “precedent”: in their analyses, the Museum of Jurassic Technology plays the role of precedent for a body of works that were conceived well before it.
The degree to which the text imbricates Duchamp and the MJT complicates a scholarly response to the theses therein. One reason––more interesting than a lack of scholarly convention––is that Lowie/Lowrey have based commonalities between the two on wholly novel readings of both. Lowie/Lowrey have, in effect, created a hybrid/a duck-rabbit/a Lincoln-Wilson that belies usual historical lineage (a shared theme of Duchamp and the MJT as the meanings of the name “Museum of Jurassic Technology” suggest). Lowie/Lowrey’s most outstanding Duchamp “find” is that Duchamp’s work both expands and condenses the biblical narrative of the Fall.
This leads to the content of the exhibition proper. Photography, ostensibly the subject of the installation, notoriously problematizes the concept of “here-now” and “there-then” (quoting Roland Barthes). Thus the title of the exhibition, “One-Hundred-Sixty-One-Year Exposure/One Hundred Twenty-fifth of a Second Exhibition” points to photography’s (and cinema’s) articulation of “illogical conjunctions” of space and time.
“One-Hundred-Sixty-One-Year Exposure” refers to the time, counting back from the year 2000, since the/a first photograph: Boulevard du temple by Louis Daguerre captures a stationary bootblack and his customer, but is otherwise unable to capture movement due to the necessary long exposure. The first half of the title additionally links “delay” and “exposure,” two operative ideas in Duchamp’s Large Glass, and of course alludes to the “long take” of cinematic theory. The second half of the title makes reference to the time-motion studies of Edweard Muybridge and Etienne Jules Marey, Henri Cartier-Bresson’s “simultaneous recognition,” Edumund Husserl’s phenomenology of “now,” Nietzsche’s “augenblick,” Duchamp’s “extra-rapid exposure” of Etant donnés, and the MJT’s “hypersymbolic cognition.”
Modes of cognition are the studied subject of Nicholas Lowie’s and Sheridan Lowrey’s displays. They employ phenomenologically distinct video installations to test the embodied vision of gallery visitors. Still and moving imagery are used to great effect. In the video Vehicular Circumambulation Around Gradiva, an image of Gradiva (“she who advances”) from an ancient Roman sculptural relief made famous by Freud, is animated such that it is demonstrative of the Theory of Special Relativity (velocity is relative to the viewer and viewed). However, the observing subject and observed object positions are sexualized, a “john” and a prostitute, respectively.
Lowie/Lowrey argue that an “ethics of cognition,” a term borrowed from Martin E. Rosenberg, is the overarching theme of Duchamp’s underlying narrative of “being” and “becoming” in Genesis. “Tasting” and, then, “seeing.” They compare and contrast beginning and ending frames from La Jetée (Chris Marker, 1962–63) with two consecutive frames of John F. Kennedy being shot from Abraham Zapruder’s inadvertent documentation of the assassination in 1963. La Jetée is a time-travel film composed of still photographs. The only moving sequence is of a woman’s eye opening. The Zapruder film is one take, famously written about as a purely formalist exercise by Pier Paolo Pasolini in “Observations on the Long Take.”
Their works take issue with a single formalist/phenomenal/modernist view in the face of overt allegory, as is common to reception of the Museum of Jurassic Technology and the Getty Museum garden. In A Site Marker from the “Geographer’s View” of Keith Edmier as an Embryo in the Terminus of the Getty Museum Garden by Robert Irwin, Lowie/Lowrey display their incredulousness at the lack of discourse elicited by the garden in the context of a museum featuring Pre-Modern art. Famous phenomenologist Irwin creates a work with unrelenting symbolism: the “garden enclosed” is symbolic of the Virgin Mary; the “Chador” is a veil; the labyrinth is a womb . . .
The preceding descriptions are of but four of the eleven projects included in the exhibition. The breadth of the four are indicative of the others as well. The works of Nicholas Lowie and Sheridan Lowrey are meant to engage the L.A. arts community and larger art historical themes.
> Click thumbnails below to view the installation