PRESENTS Karen Lofgren | Anna Mayer | Christian Mayer | Gala Porras-Kim | Daniel Small | Daniel Tucker
Commonwealth & Council presents PRESENTS, an exhibition of inadvertent time capsules that are perennial gifts forward and multiplications of our present(s). The six artists co-opt systems of excavation and burial to forge contemporaneity with time.
Karen Lofgren’s Sun Rise Site Line (108° South-Southeast) is a sculpture made in the form of the construction line used to guide the direction of a mounded cairn, a large number of small stones, marking the burial site of Trajectory Object c. 2000-2050 in Pioneertown, California. Throughout prehistory and through medieval times, megaliths and monuments were predominantly aligned to the angle of the rising sun on the day that work began.
In September of 2008, Anna Mayer buried 12 "crumpled" slabs of clay inscribed with both found and composed text in various canyons in and around Malibu, CA. Almost six years later and still waiting to be fired by wildfire, these time capsules remain dormant, yet offer pure potentiality.
Christian Mayer invites visitors to share his focus on a living time capsule in Los Angeles. At 170 years, this California Fan Palm (Washingtonia filifera) is the oldest living organism in Los Angeles that can be evidenced with photographs. During its life cycle, this palm tree bore witness to the city’s transformation from a small pueblo to megalopolis while being relocated several times: from a quiet desert oasis to San Pedro Street in the 1850s; further to the front of the historic Arcade train station in 1888 where it symbolized California to the newly arrived; and finally in 1914 to its current bucolic setting in Exposition Park, its service commemorated with a plaque.
Gala Porras-Kim proposes to find artifacts at the bottom of the Papaloapan River where fishermen discovered La Mojarra Stella, one of four substantial archaeological discoveries, containing the undeciphered Isthmian script.
During the renovation of the ancient Egyptian themed Luxor in Las Vegas, a series of murals were commissioned to adorn the interior of the casino and be exhibited throughout the property. The murals were unknowingly painted with a memory of the 1923 Cecil B. Demille film The Ten Commandments, and interweave historical pastiche with film memories and American ideology. They were displayed between 1998 and 2007 until Egypt copyrighted many of their ancient historical temples and statuary. Egypt called for MGM (who at the time owned the Luxor) to give them a share of profits for each iteration that the ancient motifs were exhibited in. MGM and the Luxor declined this mandate and instead chose to cut the murals out of the walls and gut the interior of the majority of ancient Egypt themed designs. These murals along with various artifacts and architectural details were then accessioned into the Las Vegas Natural History Museum and incorporated into a permanent exhibit about ancient Egypt. In their new context, the murals became history paintings and were shown with other fabricated artifacts from the Luxor and some legitimate artifacts from Egypt.
Over the course of 2014, Daniel Tucker is developing a documentary project entitled Future Perfect - Time Capsules in Reagan County dealing with the legacy of Ronald Reagan and the phenomenon of time capsule burials in southern California. Speculating on the contents of many of these time capsules, Future Perfect considers what Reagan's science-fiction imagination of the future was and how that vision constituted parts of the political terrain of the present. Presented in Tucker's first exhibition in LA, The Preface to Future Perfect is a photography installation presenting materials from his ongoing research while in residence at Grand Central Art Center (Santa Ana, CA).