Electric Data Wave Serenade Katie Grinnan May 12—June 23, 2018
Reception: Saturday, May 12, 3—6PM
Strange geology of bodies-become-land: earth gathered by Katie Grinnan in Death Valley—a mix of volcanic matter, sediments deposited by water, eroded sand, and borates—takes on plasticity. Human bodies perform the landscape through gestures of slippage and rupture, but also resistance, formulating a process of embodiment on the move. Layered strata crosscut bodies and slide apart at different speeds, describing both the transformation of landforms in geological time and the high speed information tremor of a digital glitch.
Grinnan maps her kinesthetic and cognitive experience, complicating the relays between seeing, moving, and knowing. 5 seconds of sleep data charts the fleeting landscape of dreams—translating scientific analysis into physical form and exposing fault lines between raw information and embodied thought. Thought fragments comprise "Data-Mind Geo-Phonics," reading like cross sections of a land score. The assembled milliseconds resemble a computer code scrambling in a glitch, or the mind choosing words. “Road Trip Interpolation” navigates a data-scape rendered in a computer program. The digital eye speeds and stutters across the looping virtual terrain, to shuffling radio broadcasts. Eye and ear drift apart. A cast volcanic rock projects the animation onto a rock face molded from data—technological misrendering of human sight. In the three-channel video "Electric Data Wave Serenade/Dissolving the Rock," a body traverses Zabriskie Point carrying an impression of herself, asleep. A body meditates—observing mind—while an app converts EEG data into soundwaves, serenading her melting body-shell. A rock is formed from the collapsed figure, while a duplicate rock projects another. Ontological states of meditation, dreaming, and even death track material transfigurations and relays.
Electricity—active in both the brain and the power grid—and borax crystals, once mined in the badlands, conduct larger ecologies. Crystals are used in data mining and storage. Molecular organization gives them facet and function, including the capacity to hold information, much like neurons assigned to different tasks. Seemingly inert, a rock, a brain, a group of crystals condenses a labyrinth of dynamic operations. Abstractions often sculpt our ideologies, yet the integrity of structures and systems lies in their collected events, performed gestures, and physical transformations—the arrangement is always shifting, producing prismatic interpretations.
Several minds and gestures have made this show possible. The artist wishes to thank Alison O’Daniel for her excellent videography and guidance during the Death Valley shoot; Brittney Hoogervorst and Sahara Ahal for their help and endurance; Laura Riboli for her expertise with installing and troubleshooting video; Stefan Meyer for teaching her Blender from start to finish, troubleshooting issues with a multitude of programs, prepping files, operating 3D printers, and running the CNC machine; Todd Ciborowski and Troy Rounseville for teaching her how to cast bronze; and Matt Dehnel, Megan Macuen, Shima Tajbakhsh, and Nick O’Connell for their help and skills.
Katie Grinnan (b. 1970, Richmond, VA; lives and works in Los Angeles) received her MFA from the University of California, Los Angeles, in 1999. She has had solo exhibitions at the Whitney Museum of American Art at Altria, New York; ACME, Los Angeles; Brennan and Griffin, New York; Diverse Works, Houston; the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; and most recently, LA><ART, Los Angeles. Grinnan has been included in group exhibitions, including the “2004 Whitney Biennial” at the Whitney Museum of American Art, “Real World: The Dissolving Space of Experience” at Modern Art Oxford, “The Artist Museum”at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (MOCA), and “Ours is a City of Writers” at the Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery (LAMAG). Her work is represented in several public collections including the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (MOCA), the Hammer Museum, and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA). Grinnan has been the recipient of a Guggenheim fellowship, a Pollock-Krasner grant, and a Calfund grant among others. Her work has been reviewed in publications including Artforum, Art in America, Art Review, The New York Times, and Los Angeles Times. She is an assistant professor in the Sculpture and New Genres program at California State University, Long Beach.