OPENING RECEPTION – WITH SPECIAL PERFORMANCE
MAY 2 from 7-10PM
Jimena Sarno’s video and sound installation Homeland investigates power relations, surveillance, security culture and the urban landscape as a zone of conflict. Inspired by the questions in the American citizenship application form N-400, the work interrogates what constitutes a good citizen and what defines who is an insider and who is an outsider.
Security culture thrives on fear, sustainable only as long as it engages in open-ended, pre-emptive warfare. The project focuses on the normalization of surveillance as social control. Promoting self-regulation and a false sense of security, surveillance validates itself by generating insecurity through the introduction and management of the imminent threat—the criminal, the terrorist, the immigrant, the dissident, the other. The project traces the history of surveillance in the United States and its origins in the American slave trade. It also traces tap dance as a form of resistance created during slavery. Homeland is an immersive sonic and sculptural environment where these ideas coalesce to demarcate a psychic space with a panoptic gaze and its own parameters of order, mobility, presence, absence and belonging.
Through this sensory experience, the viewer is invited to question notions of authority, participation, consensus and dissent.
IN AN OLD JOKE FROM THE DEFUNCT GERMAN DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC, A GERMAN WORKER GETS A JOB IN SIBERIA; AWARE OF HOW ALL MAIL WILL BE READ BY THE CENSORS, HE TELLS HIS FRIENDS: “LET’S ESTABLISH A CODE: IF A LETTER YOU GET FROM ME IS WRITTEN IN ORDINARY BLUE INK, IT’S TRUE; IF IT’S WRITTEN IN RED INK, IT’S FALSE.” AFTER A MONTH, HIS FRIENDS GET THE FIRST LETTER, WRITTEN IN BLUE INK: “EVERYTHING IS WONERFUL HERE: THE SHOPS ARE FULL, FOOD IS ABUNDANT, APARTMENTS ARE LARGE AND PROPERLY HEATED, CINEMAS SHOW FILMS FROM THE WEST, THERE ARE MANY BEAUTIFUL GIRLS READY FOR AN AFFAIR—THE ONLY THING YOU CAN’T GET IS RED INK.”
SLAVOJ ŽIŽEK, WELCOME TO THE DESERT OF THE REAL
In the work Booking Bench Made From Memory, on view in the education gallery, the artist has built a 1:1 scale booking bench based entirely on her recollection of the one at the Wilshire Community Police Station in Los Angeles. Sarno recorded all the sounds of its construction including wood and metal cutting, welding and random orbit sander noise. These sounds were stretched without altering their pitch and processed to isolate harmonic frequencies. The custom-pressed vinyl record—an edition of 10—contains the resulting composition on both sides and plays on loop.
Born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, artist Jimena Sarno received a BA from UCLA (2011) and MFA from UCI (2014). Her work has been exhibited in spaces throughout the region, including: New Wight Gallery, Los Angeles; For Your Art, Los Angeles; PØST Gallery, Los Angeles, Human Resources, Los Angeles; LACE, Los Angeles; ArtProduce, San Diego; and University Art Gallery, Irvine.