Through the Looking Glass: Los Angeles Aqueduct

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© Sea and Space Explorations
Through the Looking Glass: Los Angeles Aqueduct
Curated by: Lara Bank

4755 York Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90042
May 9th, 2009 - May 30th, 2009
Opening: May 9th, 2009 8:00 PM - 11:00 PM

eagle rock/highland park
Sundays 1-5pm, for special events and performances & by appointment


The story of how the Los Angeles Aqueduct was constructed is one that has been sanitized to fit the face of official historical landmarks.   With their stories literally set in stone, these interchangeable boulders from Owens Valley to Los Angeles, dot the Aqueduct's route. The story is that of the victors, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power.   The works in this exhibition connect these two distant places and illuminate their desperate relationship to water.

Nicole Antebi is a Los Angeles-based artist and editor. Recent exhibits include California Scenarios at the Orange County Museum of Art, Urban Screens 08 Melbourne Australia, The Salton Sea Projects at Kristi Engle Gallery Los Angeles, and other collaborations including the book Failure! Experiments in Aesthetic and Social Practices (co-edited with Colin Dickey and Robby Herbst) published by the Journal of Aesthetics and Protest Press, and is currently co-editing a forthcoming book with Enid Baxter Blader, entitled Water, CA .

May Jong received her MFA from Claremont Graduate University in 2005. Her work has been exhibited in Los Angeles, Pasadena and New York. She was Co-Founder and Co-Director of an artist-run gallery, Me & You Variety Candy, as well as a Committee Member of the Museum of Contemporary Art's Engagement Party. She currently teaches at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Otis College of Art and Design and Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising.

Lectures and Events:

The following events were created in conjunction with the forthcoming book, Water, CA , edited by Nicole Antebi and Enid Baxter Blader.   The book presents the most contemporary intersections of art, community planning, and environmental consciousness, with chapters by renown artists, geographers and writers.   Water, CA is a fresh and innovative discussion of a challenging and timely issue: Water in California.

Sunday May 17th, 7:30-9pm: Cynthia Hooper talk. Hooper will talk about issues of shared water on the United States/Mexico border and her work with the Center for Land Use Interpretation and the artists' collective SIMPARCH.

Cynthia Hooper
Cynthia Hooper was raised in Los Angeles, educated in the San Francisco Bay Area, and now work and teach in northern California. I've long been fascinated by the conceptual complexities and unexpected formal beauty generated by overlooked and environmentally problematic landscapes, and use painting, video, and interdisciplinary projects to convey these interests. I've collaborated with the Center for Land Use Interpretation and the artists' collective SIMPARCH, and have been awarded a Gunk Foundation grant for my interdisciplinary Cummings Road Landfill Project. I've also participated in residencies at the Center for Land Use Interpretation, the University of California Riverside's Sweeny Granite Mountains Desert Research Center, and the Djerassi Resident Artist's program. My work has been included in a number of publications, including Ken Ehrlich and Brandon LaBelle's Surface Tension Supplement No. 1.


Saturday May 23rd, 7-10pm: Claude Willey and Deena Capparelli talk. Willey delves into the history and relationship of Water and Concrete in the West while Capparelli will talk about MOISTURE, a multi-year water research project in the Mojave Desert.

Deena Capparelli
Deena Capparelli is an artist living in Altadena. She is co-coordinator of MOISTURE, an on-going, ecologically based project taking place on 15 acres in the Mojave Desert. Funded by L.E.F. Foundation, The Beall Center for Art & Technology, and Rain Bird/DriWater, the MOISTURE project explores water collection, retention, and diversion to native gardens that are regenerating an area exploited by many years of mining and over grazing. Her interest in gardening with native California plants has spanned 25 years. Capparelli is also an amateur propagator of trees and shrubs native to the Mojave Desert. At present, she is collaborating with artist, Lisa Tucker, on an ethno-botanical garden project for UCR’s Palm Desert Graduate Center. Deena is a tenured faculty of Art at Pasadena City College where she helped design a block program that merged science to art and has also organized a multi-disciplinary program that blends art and design.

Claude Willey
Claude Willey is an artist and educator, teaching in the Urban Studies and Planning Department at California State University, Northridge, at Art Center College of Design, and Sci-Arc. He is co-coordinator of MOISTURE, a multi-year water research project in the Mojave Desert, and in 2007 he piloted the Invisible Trajectories project, a ‘story-based’ project looking at mobility and access limitations within California’s Inland Empire. Over the past 10 years, Willey’s activities have merged ecology, environmental history, renewable-energy technologies, urban transportation, and landscape history. Last year he curated an online exhibition, Conducting Mobility, for and the Australian magazine, ArtLink, on transportation, migration, and energy. This year he is headed to Arizona to participate in a month-long Environmental Borderlands NEH Institute. In addition to his research interests, Willey defines himself as a professional bicycle commuter, clocking 230 miles per week on the roads of L.A. County.


Saturday May 30th, Time 7-8pm: Jane Tsong will unearth the history of Eagle Rock water followed by a self-guided bike tour of her neighborhood's buried streams.

MYRIAD UNNAMED STREAMS: an intimate history of the suburban landscape from the point of view of Water in Northeast Los Angeles

The wide concrete troughs carved through our city-- the Los Angeles River and the Arroyo Seco-- have long been the focus of grassroots watershed restoration efforts. Yet few of the numerous small waterflows that fed those rivers were ever mapped or even named. Such myriad small streams were an unavoidable fact of life in the era before we made the landscape predictable by regrading and draining it.

Learn how oldtimers in Northeast Los Angeles experienced the landscape in the pre-storm-drain era. After an informal Powerpoint presentation, maps will be distributed. Head out for a self-guided night bike tour (under 8 mi). Front and rear lights recommended.

Jane Tsong
Since 2004, Jane Tsong has been designing blessings for the water, air, and biosolids to be treated by the Brightwater Wastewater Treatment Plant in Seattle (opening 2011). Her proposals for radical gardens based on local cultural history have been finalists for public art commissions in Astoria, Oregon, the City of Ventura and the City of Los Angeles. Currently, she works at the Huntington Botanical Gardens, which she believes should be renamed "The Huntington Bird, Bug and Butterfly Gardens."
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