Smoke & Mirrors: AF Projects Los Angeles

11 July - 16 September 2019

Featuring artists Tavares Strachan, Jibade Khalil Huffman, John Divola, Sharon Lockhart, Emilie Halpern, Shana Lutker, Karon Davis, Jennie Jieun Lee, Melanie Schiff, Sarah Conaway, Glenn Kaino, and more.

Nearly a decade ago, I was a workaholic Angeleno with an Obama-era baby in the back seat of my car. One day a smart phone changed the trajectory of our lives. I received new information that day. In an instant cutting through waves of panic, fear and shock I said out loud so I could hear myself and truly understand and believe it. My life is not what I thought it was. Things are not as they appear to be. After quickly calling police, doctors, therapists, my mom, I wrote a note to myself - curate a show called Smoke & Mirrors.

Reality hijacked magical thinking. Emails and images imploded the illusory narrative of my fantasy, abruptly revealing itself as pure fiction. That moment remains hyperly visual. The recall of this instant of waking reads like a Chris Markeresque filmic montage of memories melting into myths.

It was flash. A blink that felt photographic. A manic powerpoint of falsity. I ran to my library grabbed Roland Barthes' Camera Lucida: "The punctum of a photograph is that accident which pricks me (but also bruises me, is poignant to me).

What are the effects of illusion, signs of delusion, functions of perception?

Magic is crucial. A phantasmagoric new life appeared.

Yet, it seemed fitting to revisit this note to self, as this Post-it seemed burlesque in social media society. The travesty of the magic lantern reverberates in this post truth, fake news cultural moment threatening civil society. And the sham of the personal paled in light of the political present.

The surreal has succumb to the ramping up of the supereal, hyperreal and today inexplicably unreal.

Smoke & Mirrors will not be a singular show but a psycho-social journey and life project.

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