Episode No. 359 of The Modern Art Notes Podcast features artists lauren woods and Eva Struble.
Artist lauren woods was scheduled to open American MONUMENT this week at the University Art Museum at California State University Long Beach. woods “paused” American MONUMENT after CSULB fired UAM director and American MONUMENT curator Kimberli Meyer on September 11, just days before the project was set to open. A university spokesperson has not explained the firing or its timing, except to say that it is “unrelated to the exhibit’s contents.”
American MONUMENT is an interactive sound installation that utilizes open records-sourced materials such as police reports. Visitors were to be invited to place a record-player needle on any record to activate the work. In response to CSULB’s firing of Meyer, whom woods regards as an essential collaborator, woods unplugged the audio element of the work. It remains off. For more on the events at CSULB and UAM, see Matt Stromberg’s Sept. 19 story at Hyperallergic.
woods and UAM described the project as
a monument that prompts consideration of the cultural circumstances under which African-Americans have lost their lives to police brutality. The new-media monument is conceived to be nomadic and continually expanding, with the UAM serving as its launch site and steward. The artwork provides a vehicle by which to analyze the complex relationship between constructed race, material violence and structural power.
In recent years, evidence of police violence has reached a new level of exposure, allowing more public access to formal investigations of police brutality. Examining cases in which a police officer killed a black civilian, woods focuses on language used in justifying the fatal incidents. She identifies dominant cultural narratives that appear in mass media and filter into law enforcement and the justice system. The artwork provides space to ponder how the law is created, interpreted, enacted, and perpetuated.
The centerpiece of American MONUMENT is an interactive sound installation that utilizes sources from open records requests including police reports, court transcripts, and witness testimonies; as well as audio files captured by bystanders. Visitors are invited to pick up the needle on any turntable, put it on a record, and activate the sound sculpture.
On the second segment, artist Eva Struble discusses her work and her interest in California’s migrant agricultural labor sector. Struble is one of 42 artists included in “Being Here with You/ Estando aquí contigo,” which opens at the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego this weekend. The exhibition presents the work of 42 artists and collectives living and working in the San Diego-Tijuana region. It was curated by Jill Dawsey and Anthony Graham. This segment was recorded on the occasion of Struble’s 2014 exhibition at MCASD.
Air date: September 20, 2018.