measuring with a bent ruler
Dylan Mira, Neha Choksi, and Kandis Williams
Curated by Suzy Halajian
July 25 - September 8, 2018
Night Vision Opening: Wednesday, July 25, 8-10pm
Performance by Mayako XO (Sara Gernsbacher): Wednesday, August 1, 9-10pm
Performance by 미친년 (Saewon Oh and Sara Kwon): Wednesday, August 8, 9-10pm
Elementary Sympathy Opening and performance: Wednesday, August 15, 8-9:30pm
Aphrodite Hera Metis Opening and performance: Wednesday, August 29, 8-11pm
Closing event and screening for Aphrodite Hera Metis: Saturday, September 8, 8-10pm
measuring with a bent ruler consists of distinct, yet interconnected installations and programs developed with artists Dylan Mira, Neha Choksi, and Kandis Williams.
Initiated through a series of conversations, the project pushes against a thematic group exhibition and considers the lines of exchange that are produced through the encounter of three practitioners, mostly strangers to one another. As presentations move from one artist’s work to another—in the form of changing installations and events—the exhibition unravels as an open-ended dialogue where each staging potentially affects the next.
The project presents three artists with discrete installations. Each artist was invited to consider the sequential structure of the show, and the brief meeting between works and processes that will take place within the Actual Size gallery space, with short temporal gaps between installation and deinstallation punctuating each part. Through its slow unraveling, the exhibition asks: How can we work together while still working apart? Where do the moments of crossover and exchange take place among practices and artistic processes inhabiting a space? How does the in-between mediate the production and reception of projects, and what dynamic interdependencies can this production allow room for? Audiences are invited to return during the exhibition run, which will take the form of installations, unfinished works, late-night events, closed performances, editing sessions, and so on.
measuring with a bent ruler responds to the indeterminate and charged political and social times in which we find ourselves. It questions how our current moment might allow us to imagine artistic production and collaborative modes of action differently. As each presentation shifts to the next, physical fragments remain and linger, so that each artist’s material and/or textual presentation makes a mark on the next. The project brings together and expands upon ideas shaped individually, while extending the duration, or afterlife, of each work.
Mira, Choksi, and Williams are connected by an interest in disrupting dominant systems of logic through investigations of language, history, and time. Through a visual, writing, and performance-based practice that is at times collaborative, the artists’ works rescript how bodies can transform space, and how bodies can behave differently when asked to share space. By engaging negation as a site of transformation and opening up room for absurdity and reflection, the artists think through larger considerations around birth, existence, intimacy, and loss. Another key point of departure for this exhibition is the continual fascination with time: how does a rethinking of linear time relate to how we navigate spaces, our labor and artistic processes in everyday life? Presentations elicit a variety of readings to break with fixed terms and concepts, and to subvert linear narratives. The influence of instability and inconclusiveness emphasizes an emerging factor in the way of working — practitioners who are activating new temporal structures, or new methods to measure time, within one space. The project imagines a world of cancellation and disruption sitting closely with a new visual conversation.
measuring with a bent ruler will open with an installation and program by Dylan Mira, followed by Neha Choksi, and conclude with Kandis Williams.
Dylan Mira’s exhibition, Night Vision, includes a new video on shamanism and ecofeminist ritual practices across the Asian diaspora. The work was recorded with a broken infrared camera during travels to Jeju Island and the DMZ where tigers are rumored to live. Viewable only in the dark hours through Actual Size’s front windows, the video is accompanied by a large sculpture that first appeared in the artist’s dream, and a temporary bar further activated by a sound program.
Night Vision opens on July 25 and will be on view daily from sunset to sunrise through August 11, with sound performances by Mayako XO (Sara Gernsbacher) on August 1 and 미친년 (Saewon Oh and Sara Kwon) on August 8. Dylan Mira on dreams. 9-10pm, with drinks and anju served.
Neha Choksi is working towards a durational work in Los Angeles, where she will be attending elementary school daily as a student. As a precursor, Elementary Sympathy engages the role of shared feelings in early childhood learning through a performance-lecture about fellowship, mimesis, play-acting, and art-making. The program on Wednesday, August 15 from 8-9:30pm will include not just her lecture, but will integrate movement, conversation, as well as school-style educational posters, much like in a supportive classroom experience.
Choksi’s installation of posters will be on view at Actual Size during gallery hours on Saturdays, August 18 and 25, 1-5pm. Remnants of Mira’s project will remain in the space.
Kandis Williams employs the Actual Size gallery space as a working studio/green room to produce and then deconstruct the allegories around contact and reproduction: sexual love, marriage, and desire. Williams will work with both untrained performers and professional actors within partially scripted, unrehearsed performances that will be filmed for the video work, Aphrodite Hera Metis.
Although witnessable from the space’s windows, the scenes will be contained from the audience and recorded after gallery hours. The collaged script will appropriate texts on sexual fetishism and commodity narcissism from Cheryl Harris, Aimee Carrillo Rowe, Jean-François Lyotard, Tiqqun, W. E. B. Du Bois, and others — material that serves as Williams’ ongoing research on the index, embodiment, semiotics, disassociation, and their contributions within systems of oppression.
The opening on Wednesday, August 29 from 8-11pm will stage and record the building of the set along with performances by Alex Zhang Hungtai, Blake Perlman, Shoghig Halajian, and Suzy Halajian, in order to create new relationships among producer, object, and audience.
For the closing event on Saturday, September 8 from 8-10pm, Williams will screen the unedited work in progress. The set will be viewable during gallery hours on Sunday, September 2 and Saturday, September 8, 1-5pm, as will fragments of both Mira’s and Choksi’s projects.
Events and installations by the artists that will be introduced and edited in the space will punctuate and perhaps even reorder the presentations. The artists will also publish a text consecutively throughout the exhibition.
About the Artists
Neha Choksi (lives and works in Los Angeles and Bombay) makes work in various media, often involving performance, video, sculpture, and hybrid installations. She recently presented solo exhibitions at Manchester Art Gallery (2017); Commonwealth and Council, Los Angeles (2017); Project 88, Mumbai (2016); and Hayward Gallery Project Space, London (2015). Several recent and new commissions include work for the University Art Museum, California State University, Long Beach (2020); 18th Street Arts Center, Santa Monica (2018); Made in L.A. 2018, Hammer Museum (2018); the Dhaka Art Summit (2018); Manchester Art Gallery (2017); and the 20th Biennale of Sydney (2016). She was honored with the India Today 2017 Award for the Best New Media Artist of the Year. A monograph on her 2017 exhibition at LAMOA, Dismantling, was published earlier this year. Choksi is on the editorial board of X-TRA, a contemporary arts journal published in Los Angeles.
Dylan Mira (lives and works in Los Angeles ) records affect and accident. Her recent projects have been presented at sites including Participant Inc., New York (2018); Seoul Museum of Art, South Korea (2018); Park View/Paul Soto, Brussels (2018); Karen Huber Gallery, Mexico City (2018); LACE (Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions (2017); LAXART, Los Angeles (2016); Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (2016); Portland Institute of Contemporary Art (2016); Artist Curated Projects, Los Angeles (2015); and Performa, New York (2015). She dropped out of high school and graduated with a BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and an MFA from the University of California, Los Angeles. Mira has received awards from Rema Hort Mann Foundation and Foundation for Contemporary Arts.
Kandis Williams (lives and works in Los Angeles and Berlin) is an artist whose recent presentations include solo exhibitions at Works on Paper, Vienna (2017); Night Gallery, Los Angeles (2017); SADE Gallery, Los Angeles (2016); St. Charles Projects, Baltimore (2016); and a performance and workshop at Human Resources, Los Angeles (2016). Her work has also been shown at the Studio Museum in Harlem; the ONE National Gay & Lesbian Archives at the USC Libraries; the Underground Museum, Los Angeles; Neu West and 68 Projects, Berlin; and The Breeder, Athens. Williams maintains an active curatorial and writing practice, and runs Cassandra Press with artists Jordan Nassar and Taylor Doran. She holds a BFA from the Cooper Union School of Art, New York.
The project is supported by a Foundation for Contemporary Arts Emergency Grant.
Image: Still from Rear Window, 1954.