Las Cienegas Projects is pleased to present Reverse Cut, an LCP Special Project by Alexis Hudgins and Lakshmi Luthra. The second of two summer projects which utilize the gallery space and building architecture in a non-standard way, Reverse Cut will convert the gallery into a fully functioning reality television set for three days of filming. For this event, LCP will be open to the public twenty four hours a day. Gallery visitors can step into the control room and see professional crews at work behind the scenes, or be escorted onto the set by a production assistant to watch the cast being filmed. The cast living space will be rigged with surveillance cameras and microphones that transmit to the control room. Camera operators will be in the house at all times, ready to catch any “story” directed from the control room via walkie-talkie radios.
Within the frame of the gallery, the viewer will be given access to a system of production that usually remains carefully concealed. The title of the exhibition derives from the 180-degree rule, a filmmaking convention which dictates camera position within a scene along a 180-degree line parallel to the stage. This line establishes continuity in the filmic space, and functions as a sort of “fourth wall,” creating a stable position from which to view or be viewed. This stability, in turn, helps viewers emotionally identify with those on screen. Crossing the 180 degree line, referred to as a “reverse cut”, disturbs the viewer’s relationship to the filmic space. The 180-degree rule is one of the many formal, material and psychological mechanisms used in the reality television production process to narrativize experience. The director and the crew, the cameras and microphones, and the scripted space of the set in which the cast lives are all a part of the apparatus ensuring that reality unfolds in an image-ready fashion.
In the reality TV production process, technology becomes the medium through which all social interaction occurs. As the cast performs for the camera and the microphones, their interactions amongst one another become a kind of secondary effect to this performance for the machines. The crew and cast are simultaneously separated and connected by a wall of technology. Using the reality television production process as a medium, this exhibition explores the relationship between experience, image, and the performance of identity, as well as the mediating role of technology in our lives.
Alexis Hudgins is a Los Angeles based artist who also directs, produces and production manages for reality television and films. Additionally, she is the co-founder of the non-profit organization Voices for Umoja, (http://voicesforumoja.org), which works collaboratively with Kenyan youth in video and photography. Hudgins holds a BA in art history from Emory University and a BFA in photography from the California Institute of the Arts. She is currently an MFA Candidate at the University of California, Los Angeles. Her work has been exhibited recently at the Stephen Cohen Gallery in Los Angeles and her videos were included in a screening at the Woodmill Gallery in London.
Lakshmi Luthra is a Los Angeles based artist and teacher. Her work uses documentary and fiction strategies to explore where different kinds of histories -cultural and economic, personal and social- intersect. Her current project Still Life explores the relationship between industrial and cultural production in Los Angeles. She graduated from California Institute of the Arts in 2009 with an MFA. Luthra’s work has been exhibited recently at the Stephen Cohen Gallery in Los Angeles and at 110 in Philadelphia. She has an upcoming solo show at the Drury Gallery in Vermont. Next year she will be teaching photography at Marlboro College in Vermont.