At the onset of an ocular migraine, one experiences no discernible pain – just visual voids. Objects become incomplete: faces speak without mouths; buildings open wide like a Matta-Clark cutting in soft-focus; sidewalks become as navigable as a Bridget Riley painting.
The sensation is almost pleasurable for the first hour until the proper pounding begins. In some cases, it is so overwhelmingly incapacitating that the most one can do is to lie in a dark room – damp towel over eyes, absolute silence – until the migraine finally decides to take its leave.
If Marinetti could claim that speed had shrunk the earth nearly a century ago, we now approach singularity. Yet the migraine remains a knee-capping counterpoint – a resistance to speed that cannot be ignored.
The exposition CHPPDNSCRWD – itself a loaded reference to the syrup-sipping, pitch-shifting technique developed by Houston, TX’s late DJ Screw – both establishes and explores tension between speed and its involuntary diminution. The work is, by and large, collage or collage-influenced. The show is a battleground of visual, semiotic, and aural cacophony punctuated by moments of forced slowdown.
Chameleonic unit Los Mediáticos (Monterrey, NL, MX) performs for CHPPDNSCRWD in its “Black Metal” incarnation, presenting a weaponized séance of spontaneous sound structures born out of a tightly defined and chaotically executed process of remix, repetition, and reinterpretation.
Punchline to the revived interest in the détournement practices fashioned by Guy Debord and the French Situationists is Sam Ott’s (Portland, OR, USA) sigil project. In contrast to the pithy, heavy-handed linguistic plays of the ‘90s and early ‘00s culture jammers, she twists the ubiquitous logos of the Los Angeles landscape into confusing deliveries of homebrewed magical spells. Not content to simply “play” within the field of advertising, Ott’s intent is “to render it useless.”
In his paper works, Joe DeNardo (Brooklyn, NY, USA) culls the visual material of decades-old media to fashion impossible intersections of interior and exterior spaces. These pieces act as meditative stills in conjunction with the relentless, hypnotizing succession of images that comprise his video work for Reconstruction, an experimental noise piece performed by his band, Growing.
The assemblage works by Daniel Habif (Mexico City, DF, MX) represent the output of a coded group process of decision-making and randomization. While pioneering cyberneticist Norbert Weiner once warned of the results when decisions are left to humans who “are knit into an organization in which they are used ... as cogs and levers and rods,” Habif demonstrates that the eventual collaboration in meaning-making on the part of the viewer can itself re-humanize a mechanized process.
In I Touch You With My Mind (States I – III), video artist Hazel Hill (Los Angeles, CA, USA) takes a scene from the 1993 film, Falling Down, as the launch pad for a looping arc of hallucinatory visions involving the Lawnmower Man and her pet pug, Rocky. Her imposed structure on this unlikely combination of source materials evokes an unexpected sensation of bliss.
Collage finds a remarkable totality in the existence of the duo known as Taquitojocoque and the phrase “La Vida Taquitojocoque” serves perfectly as a catch-all descriptor of their practice and varied, prolific output. For CHPPDNSCRWD, Taquitojocoque transplant a work called Home Sweet Chiringuito — a work in perpetual refinement since its inception in April, 2008 — from their home/workshop to the second floor of Yautepec, adding to it a selection of individual paper works.
Continuing in this manner of total collage, the trio known as Fat Mariachi (Mexico City, DF, MX) transforms one of the upstairs rooms into a Jason Rhoades-esque performance space. Members Daniel Lara, Kai Kraatz, and Edgar Aaron offer their performance/happening Fat Mariachi Proberaum, converting the room into the practice space of a band with dreams of being famous, complete with “the smell of sweat from countless hours of composing music, dancing, and searching for new sounds to satisfy the public.”
Mauricio Pastrana — under his alias, Lázaro Valiente — presents a performance called Age of the Cake, in which worldwide participants collaborate in the creation of an improvised, four-hour long music and sound arrangement via ageofthecake.com. Receiving specific instructions through a platform of his own design, Lázaro mines the days of June 18th — past and present — for his creative material. As participants send their instructions, they can watch as Lázaro performs them on live streaming video from the gallery.
Finally, Leo Marz (Monterrey, NL, MX) contributes his video work, WE DANCE, in which he choreographs a scene from a 1980s era high-school movie to a meta-narrative and soundtrack provided by his musical alter-ego, White Ninja. Marz’s work focuses often on the nature of consumer culture, and in this piece he offers an elegantly layered statement about ownership of ideas by forcing consumption and production into a tumultuous tango.