Time and the Technosphere

December 10 - January 21, 2017




In Time and the Technosphere, Ian James pursues posthumanism through the dimension of recently antiquated healing devices. As we accelerate through late capitalism (oblivion), increasingly trying to undo damage to the self, we pile on layers of corrective technology, mutating into transhuman techno-beings. We are placed into a state of evolutionary hyperdrive. 

The work represents a kind of economic spiritualism that aligns the crystalline translucence of acrylic and quartz and besets high viscosity ultrasound gel with the mantle of geologic time. Laced with sculptural talismans and text, his expanded photography depicts “wellness lifestyle” objects that embody our tech culture’s obsession with obsolescence and renewal. Embedded within these once-futuristic objects are momentary fulfillments of bodily desires easily met - a portable neck massage, eye slack constriction, some briefly lubricated skin - and larger, existential desires - health, happiness, self-awareness – all awaiting updates from next year’s model.

The primary component in Time and the Technosphere is a suite of photographs featuring restaged advertisements and instruction manual images, tessellating inward around repeated demonstrations by a recurring figure. The images mimic their sources to the point of collapse; their vibrations slightly off, their exposition flawed by human intimacy. The picture planes themselves have been precision cut, modest shelving sequences protrude from their faces turning the image itself into another delineated site.  In a perspectival shift, this assembly hangs atop acrylic-backed custom laminates of tourist graffiti carved in sandstone cliffs, forming wall-mounted ziggurats.

Several of the devices pictured in the works are also present in the space, suspended on stainless steel supports crossbred from a blend of museum armatures and mall display racks. These sculptures are joined by three convention-style collapsible magazine racks, each presenting slag rocks, fragments of Awareness magazine, gathered detritus and info-graphics from the Jose Arguelles book which the exhibition derives its title. In a final gesture of future self-actualization through time-space readjustment, James has produced an editioned calendar, which marks the beginning of the exhibition with excerpts from the Arguelles text promoting a 13:20 cosmological, anti-Gregorian reform meant to lead humanity to the noosphere.

Ian James (b. 1981 Cincinnati, OH) is an artist based in Los Angeles. He holds an MFA from California Institute of the Arts (2009) and a BA from Ohio State University (2004). James has recently exhibited at ltd Los Angeles, REDCAT, Holiday Forever (Jackson, WY), Self Actualization (Houston, TX), and was in residence at The Wassaic Project (Wassaic, NY).


Exhibition Context is a six-part series of additive solo shows designed to throw focus toward the gallery's embedded conditions of presentation. It serves to maximize individual artistic platform while encouraging a collaborative approach. In this third of six shows, James has recontextualized works left behind by the first and second artists, Paul Pescador and Linnea Kniaz. James will then expand this context by also leaving a work behind for the third artist to incorporate into their exhibition.

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I've Got the World on a String Pt. 1-59

December 10 - January 21, 2017




Accompanying Exhibition Context upstairs is Non-Cinema, downstairs. Non-Cinema is a series taking place in the basement of VACANCY dedicated to experimental video works, specifically the works of Spencer Holden, whose philosophy of Non-Cinema gives the project its name. Like Exhibition ContextNon-Cinema will run through July 2017. 

“A landscape of the external world. A landscape of the internal world. Man spinning on the planet. Alone before annihilation. Whirling out! The point at which it breaks...holding on by a thread.” - Spencer Holden

Spencer Holden ties a camera to a string and spins it around in circles. The camera rotates around an uncertain center, accelerating the image, destroying the landscape, always looking away, bound to but completely out of control of the worker. The action shot. Extreme filmmaking! . . . the world is hanging by a thread.

Spencer Holden is an active filmmaker with a focus in experimental video, installation and performance art. He is now developing cinematic experiments towards a Non-Cinema. His work has been featured at REDCAT, Slamdance, Barnsdall Art Park and The Watermill Center. Spencer graduated from California Institute of the Arts in the Film and Video Program in 2013.