Non-places, land politics, postcolonial ecologies, spatial memory, and the origins of experience, permeate the visceral site-specific installations and photographic works in Jane Chang Mi’s solo show The Taste Of Purity at Adjunct Positions. Informed by her training as an ocean engineer, Mi designates the viewer in the position of the traveller, leading us through intervals of flickering moving images and static remnants drawn by sociopolitical undercurrents.
We are invited to discover a body of work that are effects themselves— reaching us as mediatized research-based forms born from Mi’s own travels to the archipelagos of French Polynesia. Downstairs, in the lower garage-gone-gallery, we step inside a beachside space set aglow by a pulsating reflection of the sun on a glittering sea. Footage accumulated from the site of former nuclear tests, we see a projected horizon both social and metaphorical; tranquil and violent; artificial and real. Sand at our feet, nestled in a repurposed garage atop the picturesque Highland Park hills, Mi sets us within an environment considering the circulation of the past and present— a space simultaneously here and elsewhere.
Spaces of transience are the vehicles and lens for seeing these works— a condition accentuated more vividly in the upstairs gallery. A strip of a white box breaks the living and dining areas of Adjunct Positions founder David Prince, creating a stop-motion corridor for viewing Mi’s photograph of an airport. Mi pushes the evocation of arguably this ultimate ‘non-place’ further through her installation in the adjacent attic. Climbing a ladder we peep into a parallel portal where a video of a vanishing moon illuminates the metallic scaffolding of a raw yet universal infrastructure. Filmed looking-up at a cascading night sky from a boat, we are aware of ourselves catching a glimpse of this vantage point perfectly melding movement with distance.
With each piece, our experience is immediate and intimate yet universal and interdependent on the screens of reality for which Mi seeks to emulate. A diffusion of place, cultural narratives, materiality and time gives way to the sensorial— perhaps most effective in Mi’s augmentation of the metaphoric capacities of light and video— a tool she navigates to illuminate and represent, but also to reveal the deceptive force of its nature.
All photos © Adjunct Positions
continued from Curate LA: Sep 17-21
Upcoming first-look: Jane Chang Mi at Epicenter Projects. Hosting an international roster of artists, Epicenter Projects is an ongoing nomadic series curated by Cristopher Cichocki inviting artists to create site-specific interventions along the San Andreas fault line. View the expanding exhibition archive here.