Projection of found moldy 35mm slides with soundtrack including live musical elements. Performed at The Museum of Jurassic Technology, Hammer Museum, UCLA, Echo Park Film Center, and various other Los Angeles and West Coast venues, 2005 - present
"I have always been drawn to ‘found’ art – semi-intentionally brilliant cultural castoffs like thrift store paintings, songpoem recordings, love-letters and rap lyrics blowing in the street – not to mention the whole strain of Modern Art epitomized by Kurt Schwitters and Robert Rauschenberg that takes the detritus of Western visual culture and reconfigures it into new, eye-awakening configurations.
So it wasn’t so unlikely for me to be rooting through the mounds of refuse piled up outside the house of “The Edendale Packrat” – a classic hoarder whose entire car except for the driver’s seat was packed, floor to ceiling, with scavenged crap from the street. It seems that his house was equally crammed, because over the course of several months – possibly as a result of a court intervention – wave after wave of jestsam washed out to the curbside from his dingy bungalow, filling industrial sized dumpsters over and over again.
There was every conceivable item – football helmets, lamps, bicycle wheels, board games, stuffed animals, cooking utensils, on and on. I’ve been attempting to cut down on my own packrat tendencies lately, but I couldn’t resist rescuing several thousand 35mm slides that appeared over a period of several days. They seemed to date from the 70’s and be from the same family – a swinging middle aged man and his sexy wife, partial to safaris and pilgrimages to Jerusalem.
Many of the slides were pristine, and interesting in their own way. Some were water damaged or scratched and still others had grown mould on the emulsion – some of it a furry green variety in a plushy quarter inch pile on the surface of the slide. On some the mould had distorted the imagery or overlaid organic patterns like a 60’s light show. Others had had their colors bled out. Some had been turned into complete abstractions.
I cleaned them all with tap water and dried them out, then laboriously sorted them down from about 1000 to a slide tray of 140, for which I created a soundtrack (old hypnosis records and live musical saw) and presented at several Los Angeles venues. The response has been tremendous. I keep thinking how blown away I’d be to walk into an art gallery and see these things blown up to painting-size.
Normally I’m hesitant to enthuse about my own work, but in this case I feel like I’m only one of a string of collaborators, starting with the original photographer, the Packrat of Edendale, the mould itself, and the live audience or readers of Strange Attractor (also the anonymous hypnotists and saw player Christian Cummings). And I think these are some of the most beautiful and compelling visual images I’ve seen in a long time. All hail the Aesthetics of Mould!"
Published in Strange Attractor Journal #2 (2005)