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RADIO BREAK: Vanessa Place, Lucy Raven, and 2 Headed Dog
April 21, 2012 @ 1:00 pm - 6:00 pm
21 April 2012, 1 – 6 pm
Curated by the USC Roski School’s MA Art and Curatorial Practices in the Public Sphere
LACE is delighted to host the curatorial project from USC Roski School’s MA Art and Curatorial Practices in the Public Sphere 2012 class RADIO BREAK: Two Weekends of Artists’ Low-Power Radio Transmissions and Live Performance.
The first of two days in Hollywood, the LACE installment will feature the work of Lucy Raven, 2 Headed Dog, and a live performance by Vanessa Place. All work will be accessible through listening in via portable radio. Radio headsets will be available for checkout on site, but we encourage you to bring your own, too!
ABOUT RADIO BREAK
A way-finding map and interactive website accompany the exhibition and provide details about the projects and their locations. Click here to download map.
ABOUT THE ARTISTS
2 Headed Dog is a Los Angeles–based comedy troupe established by Dave “Gruber” Alleen, Craig Anton, Mark Fite, and Jim Turner. Building on the theatrical lineage of absurdist playwright Eugène Ionesco as well as the performance style of comedian Andy Kaufman, their work enacts familiar situations that unravel into nonsense and confusion. Clowntown City Limits is a bombastic, darkly humorous play about two out-of-work clowns, Big Bugs the Hobo Clown and the severely gored Corky the Rodeo Clown, their devoted butler Adolph, and a circus clown named Whistles. Set in a surreal world reminiscent of the work of Samuel Beckett, Clowntown City Limits details the desperate measures these characters take in order to get a gig at a child’s birthday party. Though its plot is simple, the play’s characters are allegorical, embodying the depressed situations of average Americans, whether in terms of economics or graver matters of the soul. Big Bugs is a “clown-killing clown,” slyly offing his competitors and stealing their gags and props in the hopes of booking their paying gigs. 2 Headed Dog will perform and record Clowntown City Limits in the Brookledge Follies, a private theater in the Hancock Park residence of the Larsen family, proprietors of the Magic Castle, a members-only club for magicians in Hollywood.
2 Headed Dog has participated in Sketch Fest, San Francisco and Microfest-LA, Los Angeles, and has had longstanding residencies at Largo and the Steve Allen Theater in Los Angeles.
Lucy Raven’s practice encompasses a variety of forms, including animated films, sculptural installations, performative lectures, curatorial projects, art criticism, and interventions into live television. Connecting these strands is the artist’s continuing interrogation of the effects of technology on the world. Her works for film, video, and television investigate the modes of transmission and reception specific to those media as well as larger conditions of circulation and distribution. Her film China Town (2008) traces copper mining and production from an open pit mine in Nevada to a plant in China where semi-processed ore is sent to be smelted and refined, considering what it actually means to be connected in the global economy. Raven is co-founder and coeditor of The Relay Project, a magazine to be listened to, a publication of sounds released on CD intended to bridge the empty space in one’s library between records and journals by swapping out the sounds of one for the pages of the other.
Raven’s audio play Con Air 2 was recorded in Wendover, Utah, at one of the many sites used in the filming of the Hollywood blockbuster action film Con Air (1997), from which this work derives its name. A previous version of Con Air 2 was presented on Performa 05 radio; its presentation in Radio Break sites it along another of Con Air’s filming locations—the belly of Hollywood. Con Air 2 is a record of unscripted events—friends at play, communicating via walkie-talkie—acted out in a fictionalized setting. The complex description and setting constructed in Con Air 2 is intended to be encountered, existing in the environment rather than restaged as a grounded and guided experience.
Raven received a BFA in studio art from the University of Arizona in 2000 and an MFA from Bard College in 2008. Her work has been exhibited at art and film spaces internationally, including the Museum of Modern Art, New York; Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art, West Adams; Wexner Center for the Arts, Columbus, Ohio; Storefront for Art and Architecture, New York; Overgaden Institute of Contemporary Art, Copenhagen; Nevada Museum of Art, Reno; PS1, Long Island City, New York; Princeton University Art Museum, Princeton, New Jersey; Pacific Film Archive, Berkeley, California; and the Manchester International Festival, Manchester, England. Raven is a contributing editor to Bombmagazine, and her writing has appeared in publications including Inge Morath: The Road to Reno (2006); Deborah Stratman: Tactical Uses of a Belief in the Unseen (2010); and Rachel Harrison: Museum with Walls (2010). Raven was the co-curator of “The Marfa Sessions” at Ballroom Marfa in Marfa, Texas (2008), and of “Nachleben” at the Goethe Institute in New York (2010).
A Los Angeles–based conceptual writer, poet, and art critic, Vanessa Place is also a criminal defense attorney, a day job that regularly informs and enriches her work. Her recent conceptual poetry projectStatement of Facts (2010) involved the appropriation of official documents and corresponding legalese from court testimonies on violent sex crimes. The work reveals how the straightest of straight talk inevitably reverts back to the realm of the incomprehensible, even as we continue to organize our lives according to truth and lies, innocence and guilt, and other unsatisfactory dualities.
For Radio Break, Place’s Full Audio Transcripts revisits communications from September 11, 2001—a collection of audio dispatches, originally broadcast on closed radio frequencies, between the Federal Aviation Administration, North American Aerospace Defense Command, and American Airlines. These transcripts, made public by the New York Times in 2011, identify each speaker, but Place omits this in her reading, stringing together all the utterances into a single monologue. Broadcasting her performance for Radio Break, she presents the words via their original medium in an attempt to recover their psycho-social context—a space before trauma had been fully comprehended or memorialized in language, before the numbers 9 and 11 became a rhetorical device used to justify all kinds of political and social agendas.
Place’s works include Dies: A Sentence (2006), La Medusa (2008), Notes on Conceptualisms, co-authored with Robert Fitterman (2009), and The Guilt Project: Rape, Morality and Law (2010). She also serves as co-director of Les Figues Press, an independent, non-profit literary press based in Los Angeles. Speaking about Notes on Conceptualisms, artist Mary Kelly said, “I learned more about the impact of conceptualism on artists and writers than I had from reading so-called canonical works on the subject.” Poet Kenneth Goldsmith has said Place’s work was “arguably the most challenging, complex and controversial literature being written today, ” and poet Rae Armantrout has remarked, “Vanessa Place is writing terminal poetry.” Bebrowed’s Blog said Place is “the scariest poet on the planet.” Anonymous on Twitter said, “Vanessa Place killed poetry.”