By Catherine Wagley
By Channing Sargent
By L.A. Weekly critics
By Amanda Lewis
By Catherine Wagley
By Carol Cheh
By Keegan Hamilton
By Bill Raden
Miriam Dym and Kathleen Johnson both make formally extravagant explorations of landscape devoid of such pungent self-reflection. Dym's massive laminated computer print Blue and Slate Map With Orange Inserts (1999) pushes the kineticism of Mondrian's Broadway Boogie Woogie into the utterly virtual, describing a hopelessly tangled schematic devoid of intelligible symbols or verbiage. Somehow, the density of the information and its utter muteness don't translate into a sense of futility, or maybe we just don't notice it in the orgy of entertainment afforded our eyes. Johnson's computer-altered cloudscapes create zones of digital incongruity that hint at a binary structure underlying our perceived reality. The strange sense of dÃ©jÃ vu that these images evoke gives an unsettling, dreamy edge to what is otherwise the sweetest vision of the coming digital apocalypse included here.
Robert Stone, T. Kelly Mason, Joey Santarromana and Jennifer Steinkamp (who contributes what I consider her best work, 1996's perspective-grid video loop Flutter Flutter) all fall more or less into the same morally ambiguous camp, which sees curious hybrids, digital recombinance and technology-fueled diffusion of identity as the parameters of our imminent millennial reality.
IN THE THINNER 1974 NOVEL THE FUTUROLOGICALCongress, Polish sci-fi author Stanislaw Lem constructs a hilarious, nightmarish labyrinth of increasingly bleak and desperate virtual realities. As each layer of illusion is peeled away, humanity is revealed as a single feeble human in a test tube being stimulated by a vast network of life-support technology and hallucinogens into believing he is living a utopian life charged with intrigue, and therefore hope. The role of the arts as a means of envisioning potential futures may be a mere conceit, a jangly analgesic to distract us while the human animal devolves into obsolescence. While some of the art in "Post Millennial Fizzy" hints at such dark scenarios, the overall tone is one of optimism and affectionate disregard for the historically propagandistic functions of futurism. If Joyce and Ross are right in their optimism, then this show may come to be seen as a sort of manifesto. If they're not, it doesn't matter anyway.
POST MILLENNIAL FIZZY (Addressing the Possibility of the Future) | At Luckman Fine Arts Gallery | Cal State L.A. | Through May 1