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Nicole Antebi & May Jong
Through the Looking Glass: The Los Angeles Aqueduct
May 9 - May 30, 2009

Opening on Saturday, May 9th, 8-11pm

Installation shots

Nicole Antebi and May Jong, Landmark, DVD 2:00, 2009. The St.Francis Dam disaster site, which is number 919 under California’s Registered Historical Landmarks, is located one mile away from the concrete remains of the dam. This plaque gives a brief history of the disaster, but fails to indicate the parameters of the disaster site. Water is not stable as it is constantly fluctuating in water level, width, and direction, making it difficult to frame in this context.  By traversing these sites, Landmark releases this fixed history and flows (or rolls) like water.

Nicole Antebi and May Jong, Fountain, DVD 2:2530, 2009. Serving as a backdrop for weddings and film shoots, the William Mulholland Memorial Fountain stands in stark contrast to the miniature fountain sprinklers found at Owens Dry Lake. The lake was left dry after William Mulholland and Fred Eaton diverted water to Los Angeles. The fountains at Owens Dry Lake were dedicated in 2001 by LADWP and dribble just enough water to mitigate alkaline dust storms across the Southwest.

Left: Nicole Antebi, Uisce Beatha, DVD 2:00, 2009. Digital animation drawing connections between William Mulholland's fabled "Whiskey Trail" up to Owens Valley and "Uisce," the Gaelic word for water and the malevolent water horse of Irish mythology. 
Right: WiskeyBar on Opening Night. Mulholland Trivia Questions given to get a shot.

May Jong, Strata: Newhall Pass, 23" x 9 ½", Strata: Newhall, 23" x 11", Strata: Casades, 23" x 13", Watercolor & digital collage, 2009.
These 3 works meld together the geology, topography and history along the route of the LA Aqueduct and Mulholland and Eaton's infamous "Whiskey Trail" from Los Angeles to the Owens Valley.



The story of how the Los Angeles Aqueduct was constructed is one that has been sanitized to fit the face of official historical landmarks.   With their stories literally set in stone, these interchangeable boulders from Owens Valley to Los Angeles, dot the Aqueduct's route. The story is that of the victors, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power.   The works in this exhibition connect these two distant places and illuminate their desperate relationship to water.

Nicole Antebi is a Los Angeles-based artist and editor. Recent exhibits include California Scenarios at the Orange County Museum of Art, Urban Screens 08 Melbourne Australia, The Salton Sea Projects at Kristi Engle Gallery Los Angeles, and other collaborations including the book Failure! Experiments in Aesthetic and Social Practices (co-edited with Colin Dickey and Robby Herbst) published by the Journal of Aesthetics and Protest Press, and is currently co-editing a forthcoming book with Enid Baxter Blader, entitled Water, CA .

May Jong received her MFA from Claremont Graduate University in 2005. Her work has been exhibited in Los Angeles, Pasadena and New York. She was Co-Founder and Co-Director of an artist-run gallery, Me & You Variety Candy, as well as a Committee Member of the Museum of Contemporary Art's Engagement Party. She currently teaches at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Otis College of Art and Design and Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising.

Lectures and Events:

The following events were created in conjunction with the forthcoming book, Water, CA , edited by Nicole Antebi and Enid Baxter Blader.   The book presents the most contemporary intersections of art, community planning, and environmental consciousness, with chapters by renown artists, geographers and writers.   Water, CA is a fresh and innovative discussion of a challenging and timely issue: Water in California.

Sunday May 17th, 7:30-9pm: Cynthia Hooper talk. Hooper will talk about issues of shared water on the United States/Mexico border and her work with the Center for Land Use Interpretation and the artists' collective SIMPARCH.

Cynthia Hooper
Cynthia Hooper was raised in Los Angeles, educated in the San Francisco Bay Area, and now work and teach in northern California. I've long been fascinated by the conceptual complexities and unexpected formal beauty generated by overlooked and environmentally problematic landscapes, and use painting, video, and interdisciplinary projects to convey these interests. I've collaborated with the Center for Land Use Interpretation and the artists' collective SIMPARCH, and have been awarded a Gunk Foundation grant for my interdisciplinary Cummings Road Landfill Project. I've also participated in residencies at the Center for Land Use Interpretation, the University of California Riverside's Sweeny Granite Mountains Desert Research Center, and the Djerassi Resident Artist's program. My work has been included in a number of publications, including Ken Ehrlich and Brandon LaBelle's Surface Tension Supplement No. 1.


Saturday May 23rd, 7-10pm: Claude Willey and Deena Capparelli talk. Willey delves into the history and relationship of Water and Concrete in the West while Capparelli will talk about MOISTURE, a multi-year water research project in the Mojave Desert.

Deena Capparelli
Deena Capparelli is an artist living in Altadena. She is co-coordinator of MOISTURE, an on-going, ecologically based project taking place on 15 acres in the Mojave Desert. Funded by L.E.F. Foundation, The Beall Center for Art & Technology, and Rain Bird/DriWater, the MOISTURE project explores water collection, retention, and diversion to native gardens that are regenerating an area exploited by many years of mining and over grazing. Her interest in gardening with native California plants has spanned 25 years. Capparelli is also an amateur propagator of trees and shrubs native to the Mojave Desert. At present, she is collaborating with artist, Lisa Tucker, on an ethno-botanical garden project for UCR’s Palm Desert Graduate Center. Deena is a tenured faculty of Art at Pasadena City College where she helped design a block program that merged science to art and has also organized a multi-disciplinary program that blends art and design.

Claude Willey
Claude Willey is an artist and educator, teaching in the Urban Studies and Planning Department at California State University, Northridge, at Art Center College of Design, and Sci-Arc. He is co-coordinator of MOISTURE, a multi-year water research project in the Mojave Desert, and in 2007 he piloted the Invisible Trajectories project, a ‘story-based’ project looking at mobility and access limitations within California’s Inland Empire. Over the past 10 years, Willey’s activities have merged ecology, environmental history, renewable-energy technologies, urban transportation, and landscape history. Last year he curated an online exhibition, Conducting Mobility, for Greenmuseum.org and the Australian magazine, ArtLink, on transportation, migration, and energy. This year he is headed to Arizona to participate in a month-long Environmental Borderlands NEH Institute. In addition to his research interests, Willey defines himself as a professional bicycle commuter, clocking 230 miles per week on the roads of L.A. County.


Saturday May 30th, Time 7-8pm: Jane Tsong will unearth the history of Eagle Rock water followed by a self-guided bike tour of her neighborhood's buried streams.

MYRIAD UNNAMED STREAMS: an intimate history of the suburban landscape from the point of view of Water in Northeast Los Angeles

The wide concrete troughs carved through our city-- the Los Angeles River and the Arroyo Seco-- have long been the focus of grassroots watershed restoration efforts. Yet few of the numerous small waterflows that fed those rivers were ever mapped or even named. Such myriad small streams were an unavoidable fact of life in the era before we made the landscape predictable by regrading and draining it.

Learn how oldtimers in Northeast Los Angeles experienced the landscape in the pre-storm-drain era. After an informal Powerpoint presentation, maps will be distributed. Head out for a self-guided night bike tour (under 8 mi). Front and rear lights recommended.

Jane Tsong
Since 2004, Jane Tsong has been designing blessings for the water, air, and biosolids to be treated by the Brightwater Wastewater Treatment Plant in Seattle (opening 2011). Her proposals for radical gardens based on local cultural history have been finalists for public art commissions in Astoria, Oregon, the City of Ventura and the City of Los Angeles. Currently, she works at the Huntington Botanical Gardens, which she believes should be renamed "The Huntington Bird, Bug and Butterfly Gardens."


Sea and Space Explorations
4755 York Blvd, LA, CA 90042
Gallery is open Sundays 1-5 PM and by appointment.
Tel.: 323-982-0854 . email: info@seaandspace.org

DIRECTIONS from Los Angeles: From the 5, take the 2 north. Take the Verdugo Road exit. Left onto Eagle Rock Boulevard. Right onto York Boulevard (major cross street is Armadale Blvd).

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