NOVEMBER 9, 2011
MOCA @ HOLLYWOOD FOREVER MASONIC LODGE
6000 Santa Monica Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90038
Cocktail Reception 7pm, Performance at 8pm
Special Guests Jennifer Herrema + Black Bananas
The Museum of Contemporary Art is pleased to present the premiere of Jonah Freeman and Justin Lowe’s new performance Shadow Pool: A Natural History of The San San International. The work employs a mix of theatrical genres ranging from the slide lecture, the fashion show, the sculptural display, and the live musical act as a means to illustrate the world of the San San International, a mega-convention of staggering proportions.
The show will feature collaborations with legendary musician Jennifer Herrema and her band Black Bananas and costume designer Katie Casey.
The presentation begins in the form of a slide lecture about an obscure book of essays entitled In The Kaleidoscope Room by journalist Elizabeth Stone. Within the book is an account of Ms. Stone’s tour through the San San International in the mid-1970s. She encapsulates the scene at the mega-convention in the following passage:
“There are over 5000 exhibitors on the 13 floors of the convention center. It is the largest of its kind in the world. I’m told that they expect a surplus of three million people to attend. This hypertrophic scale is a result of the merger of several kinds of trade fairs, contemporary art exhibitions, technology displays, and performance festivals into one behemoth event. It is now truly without theme or cohesion, a fair ostensibly about everything and nothing at all.”
Stone’s work of New Journalism is a hallucinatory tour through the multifarious objects and events. She shines an unusual light on the performative relationship between spectator and exhibitor, the rituals of identity transformation, and the dynamics of seduction and power that unfold within the dense conglomeration of displays.
The slide lecture uses the Stone text as an anchor for a broad anthropological examination of this unique cultural phenomenon. The visual tour of the San San International leads us though the materialist fictions of fashion and commodity trends, the structure of value applied to objects, the constellation of dissident street gangs that taunt the convention each year and Shadow Pool, a popular New Age movement of identity erasure and restructuring that is based in the ritualistic use of the powerful psychotropic drug Marasa.
As the slide lecture meanders into stranger and stranger narratives, models begin to appear in custom clothing holding a variety of sculptural objects that both allude to and expand upon the subject matter of the San San International. The piece culminates as a theatrical collage where a fashion show, video showcase, and a musical performance merge with the lecture into a quasi-spectacular interpretation of the multitudinous situation that is the San San International.
Jonah Freeman and Justin Lowe are known for their large-scale environmental installations in which a wide variety of social spaces are rendered in intense sculptural detail. They create labyrinthine sequences of rooms that draw sharp contrasts between style and use. In these works, it would not be uncommon to move from the parlor of an Upper East Side apartment into the pantry of a Hippie commune or Chinese pharmacy. Their first collaborative installation Hello Meth Lab In The Sun (with Alexandre Singh) was commissioned by Ballroom Marfa in 2008. A variation entitled Hello Meth Lab With A View then traveled to The Station in Miami, FL, curated by Shamim Momin and Nate Lowman. Their most expansive installation Black Acid Co-Opwas installed in 2009 at Deitch Projects, NYC and consisted of a twenty-three room, three story architectural intervention. The most recent project, Bright White Underground, was commissioned by Country Club and installed in R.M. Schindler’s J.J. Buck House in Hollywood. It involved the reimagining of the history of this famous example of California modernism as the controversial site of psychedelic research. The duo currently has a sculptural commission entitledThe Double Bind: Selections From the Annabel Vale Archive in the lobby of the Standard, Downtown LA.