November 13, 2014 - Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (YBCA) - Lucy Raven
November 13, 2014

Lucy Raven

Lucy Raven, Hand moving at a walking pace, 2014. Lenticular print. Courtesy the artist.

Lucy Raven: Hollywood Chop Riding 
Control: Technology in Culture series
November 6, 2014–January 11, 2015

Yerba Buena Center for the Arts
Upstairs galleries
701 Mission Street
San Francisco, CA 94103

www.ybca.org
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The New York–based artist Lucy Raven brings into sharp relief the colossal material and social infrastructures fundamental to processes of production in our networked, globalized world. Her contemplative storytelling encompasses films, installations, illustrated lectures, and essays.

The works in Raven’s new solo exhibition at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, Lucy Raven: Hollywood Chop Riding, derive from the artist’s exhaustive research into the history of the moving image, and specifically how evolving technologies and industrial practices inform how the eye is trained. Raven’s works reveal how the manufacture of human vision is not a neutral development, but one deeply intertwined with economic, historical, geographic, and material realities.

The exhibition features Curtains (2014), a new 3D video installation that Raven shot in post-production studios in Beijing, London, Mumbai, Toronto, Vancouver, Chennai, and Los Angeles. Seeking the least expensive labor force worldwide, Hollywood film studios regularly outsource to these locations, where workers painstakingly create the visual effects that have come to define today’s blockbuster films, converting 2D film into stereoscopic 3D, frame by frame. Curtains offers a portrait of an otherwise invisible global assembly line; it is a glimpse into the quiet reality and human hands that lie behind the spectacular computer-generated simulations of today’s mainstream films.

The show also includes a series of screenprints titled PRx, which are based on fieldwork related to Curtains and are part of Raven’s ongoing archive and exhibition project RPx. This body of work began with research the artist undertook while a 2011 resident at the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles. She unearthed motion picture test patterns—used by projectionists to calibrate the quality of a film projection—from archives and personal collections around the city. The “RP” stands for “recommended practices,” a directive set by Hollywood’s standards-developing committee—the Society of Motion Pictures and Television Engineers, or SMPTE—to ensure continuity across viewing experiences. The test patterns featured in the PRx prints are images meant for machines and the technicians who maneuver them, a relic and a precursor to the standards that surround our current high definition digital images.

Raven’s new lenticular print depicts the hand of an anonymous worker in a post-production studio in Chennai, which appears to move across the mouse pad as the visitor walks past it. This moving image is a reminder that, regardless of the economic and material factors that determine our technologies and infrastructures, the human experience, symbolized by this single hand, is always central to the development and functioning of those forces. As Marshall McLuhan once declared, “In the electric age we wear all mankind as our skin.”

About the Control: Technology in Culture series at YBCA
Control: Technology in Culture is an ongoing series of exhibitions in the YBCA Upstairs Galleries showcasing work by emerging and mid-career artists who examine the social, cultural, and experiential implications of technology. The exhibitions in this series seek to prompt timely questions about the profound and far-reaching influence of technology in our daily lives by focusing on artists whose work spans a multitude of disciplines and relates to a diverse set of issues, including architecture, acoustics, psychology, labor, consumerism, the environment, and the military.

The term “control” refers to the philosopher Gilles Deleuze’s theory that, as a result of the ever-increasing role of information technology, Michel Foucault’s “disciplinary society” of the 20th century has given way to a “control society” in the 21st century. In contrast to discipline, which molds the individual through confinement in factories, prisons, and schools, control is diffuse, adaptable, and ubiquitous, modulating rather than molding the individual.

Control: Technology in Culture is curated by Ceci Moss, Assistant Curator of Visual Arts at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts.

 

 

Lucy Raven at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts
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