The exhibition creates an archival library of San Pedro's natural history, mostly pertaining to plant life. This interactive space for scholarly and imaginative research would hold documentation (real and fictive) of maps, land deeds, and plant specimens that viewers could sit with, look at, touch, read, and contemplate. A reinvention of the archive, it would also consist of a marshland terrarium(s), reintroducing San Pedro to an earlier state of itself. Working with ideas of early natural history museums as curiosity cabinets of sorts, we will reconfigure the project space into a place for viewers to spend time engaging with the history of the site. We will curate walks through Friendship Park, through take-away maps and guided tours to encourage visitors to view the land itself through the lens of natural history. We will invite local naturalists to give lectures in the library. In the interest of indoor/outdoor connectedness, we would also build an outdoor vertical garden of edible and medicinal plants native to the San Pedro area. This archive and library invites viewers to not only peruse the past, but touch, smell and physically engage the natural world around them.
Our interest in Into the Wilderness: The Journey Within, lies in the complex histories found in the natural landscape, the wilderness. The modern cultural concept of wilderness as separate from humankind, create multi-layered geological, socio/political, and economic and natural histories. Separately, as artists, we have dealt with changes in our concept of wilderness, how information about the wild is gathered and learned, different ways of mapping the wilderness, and the economic value of nature. For this project, we would specifically explore the role of the archive in our cultural and historical understanding of wilderness as well as explore possibilities and potentialities of new ways of thinking about wilderness and our relationship to the wild, all through the lens of San Pedro and its environs.
May Jong is a Los Angeles based artist and educator. Her recent work explores humankind's relationship to the natural environment, whether mutually beneficial, detrimental or neutral. Jong Co-Founded and Co-Directed an artist-run space from 2006- 2008. Jong has exhibited in Los Angeles, New York and Berlin, most recently at the Crocker Museum of Art in Sacramento and the Cypress College Art Gallery. She received her M.F.A. from Claremont Graduate University and currently teaches at Cypress College, Glendale Community College, and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.
Katie Bachler is an artist and educator hailing from the woods of New England. Her work in Los Angeles deals with ideas of human interaction with nature and alternative modes of living in an urban context. She creates maps of these alternative experiences of the city and has worked on similar projects on residencies in Vermont and Europe. She has exhibited work in Paris, Los Angeles, and Vermont. Katie has a Master's from USC's Art in the Public Sphere program. She is currently the Slanguage green artist in residence, and teaches for the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.