The Optical Lounge and Audio Lab: The Photography Show
July 24, 2004
You Know that an art party is jivin’ when the security has to clear it out at 2am sharp. Far from your typical bourgeois art gallery showing. Create:Fixate’s underground bi-monthly audio/visual exhibition is a progressive cultural experience born for the stimuli-deprived locals of LA. Running strong in its third year and 14th installment, last month’s “The Optical Lounge and Audio Lab: The Photography Show” puts its focus on an amalgam of theme-induced advanced photography, featuring the distinct works of 31 photographers. The walls displayed voyeuristic images of colorful sadomasochism to disturbing documents of hard-knock Latino gangster lives, as well as pensive shots of Thailand ghettos by Yossi Sasson, Robert Yager, and Jason Elias, respectively. Photographer/writer Elias, who was handed the torch by founder Michelle Berc to curate the exhibition, faced the challenge of selecting the right artists out of 150 received submissions. “Each leg of the path is challenging, frustrating and inspiring. But seeing it work, there’s nothing better,” he triumphs. Marrianne Magne’s complex, surreal distortions and Francis Baker’s metamorphic abstractions of plant roots and disparate objects were also highlights that kept art enthusiasts scratching their heads.
Interactive installations placed in every corner of the five-room, maze-like loft on the second floor of downtown’s Art Deco Bank Building lent an extra dimension to the kaleidoscope of symbiotic energy. Didier Rosa and Smael Laurent teamed up for a dynamic live convergence of projected photography and painting, using urban and erotic imagery that kept the crowd fixated in 30 minute intervals. Bert Spangemacher treated on lookers to live pola transfers using a Polaroid camera and a strobe, producing diffused water-color-style photos that people go to take home. The email photo booths provided by the event’s corporate sponsor, keshot.com, also amused spectators. Graphic paint-bomb artist Parris Patton and partner/photographer Dean Groover-doused in vibrant splashes of dried paint-were present along with drive-by photographer Behzad Tahbaz and Andrea LaHue, who protracted his photos with live brushes of oil-based paint.
The hand-picked lineup of performances and DJs that created their audio spectacle included big room eclectic pop act Monkey Bars, local Drum ‘n’ bass chemists Machete and Phear, Create:Fixate residents AquaVee, Saru, Force Field Sounds’ Vanyo, Zach Rieken, Wallie, JIMMY&Jimmy, Du Bon Son, and KCRW’s wonderwoman Liza Richardson, who elegantly closed the night. “It’s a cultural event combining art and music,” says Berc, who dubbed this Create:Fixate’s liveliest installment yet. “The crowd is just as mixed as the media that we present – mature yet still funky and hip. And what’s wrong with getting your groove on while being stimulated viusally by fine art?” Absolutely nothing, especially at such an affordable admission fee.
BPM, Issue 57 Oct. 2004