"…Ever since yesterday on the road, I've been seeing this shape. Shaving cream, pillows... Dammit! I know this. I know what this is! This means something. This is important." What is this shape?” This quote from “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” emphasizes a moment in the film where Roy Neary’s character describes the inexplicable visions of physical forms he believes are both familiar and unfamiliar. (As the film unravels, these forms correspond to the geographical formations of the physical site for a communion with extraterrestrials). This notion is the departure point for the project entitled “The Familiar Unfamiliar”, whereupon invited artists have been asked to make objects, installations or experiences correlative to the desert landscape in Wonder Valley, CA – a site that may be both familiar and unfamiliar amid a group of gathered, communed individuals. The site in Wonder Valley (situated next to Joshua Tree) is a house called Casa Agave which features nested enclaves, open desert expanses and interior spaces as venues for multi-media site specific art pieces for all participating artists.
Each participating artist manifested their projects based on informed, cultivated projected or imagined understandings of the installation site. The projects in this exhibition reveal the artists’ use of a hybrid of previous knowledge of the area, gathered characteristics of the site based on photographs that were shared via a Facebook page, and for some – collected material from visits to the site. The terrain in the Wonder Valley area is a compelling venue because of the possibilities of site specificity within the physical, desert landscape, the temporal nature of the space, along with the opportunity to produce and reside amongst a community of other artists. The experience of being and working under both the constraints and open-endedness of the desert is ultimately the intention of the project and the products of the labor are reflections of our engagement with the environment around us.
The exhibition will be on view to the public during a one-day open house event beginning at 1pm and will run through the evening, with performances throughout the day and early evening. Visitors will be able to navigate the installed artworks inside the house and throughout the surrounding terrain. Artworks include photography, sculpture, installation, performance, sound, video, painting and drawing.
“The Familiar Unfamiliar” was organized by LA-based artist collective, Manual History Machines.
“The Familiar Unfamiliar” will be on open from 1pm to 7:30pm on Saturday, October 19th, 2013. Outdoor artwork viewing hours are from 1pm – 6pm with the possibility of performances extending to 7:30pm. The exhibition is located at Casa Agave, 85212 Wollmer Drive, Wonder Valley, CA 92277
This event is free and open to the public. Some areas of exhibition are not wheelchair accessible.