Locust Projects' New Exhibits Force Viewers Outside Their Comfort Zones

Categories: Art, Culture
Haendel discussion
After a few questions and discussion, guests walked back to the main gallery and faced their chairs in a circle toward the center of the room where attention turned to Los Angeles artist Karl Haendel, whose projected pieces flashed across the walls. Haendel engaged audience members about his work as the discussion was moderated by Diana Nawi, associate curator at Miami Art Museum.

Sixteen different projectors switched through 1,280 images, in which every single 35 mm slide had been carefully selected by Haendel. Obama, scribbled-over Picassos, exclamation points, boxing scenes, bleach, cheeseburgers, crying babies, Humpty Dumpties and numerous other visuals graced the walls and interchanged every few seconds. Haendel said he's interested in forcing the audience to make their own connections and the messiness of objects bleeding together.

"Here you have a knight and a battle ship -- maybe there's a connection about power and masculinity," Haendel said, pointing to two separately projected images.

"The traditional relationship between an art viewer and going to see art is pretty stable. There's a viewer and an object...Like a painting or a photo or sculpture or something...I'm suggesting that as a viewer, the thing doesn't matter. That object, the image, the only thing I'm really interested in is the relationships between them," he said.

Projectors Haendel
Haendel argues that when someone is just looking at a singular object, he/she does not see it in its entirety. "It's a little bit of a lie because it's hiding a lot of things...construction of how its meaning is made and you just assume it to arrive fully formed and intact," he said.

Haendel chooses to produce art that forces the spectator to be active and participate with their brains because the traditional mode of viewing art requires little to no brain power.

He points to images of rubber-bands and electricity, and explains something about confusion and twisting. "It's sort of disturbing to viewers to have to do that work, to make their own connections, their own meanings," Haendel said.

During the discussion, an audience member inquired something about the "random" images being projected and the word was not well received by Haendel. "I hate the word 'random' because it's overused and I don't think people really know what it means...Say someone you haven't seen in 10 years showed up at a party you're at and you say 'That's so random.' It's not random at all. The reason you know them and the reason you're at that party is the same reason they are, because you're from the same place. Things have reasons...I'm very careful and there's a reason I choose every single one of these images," Haendel said. His work over the years is an accumulation of almost 10,000 images.

Rigau shadows neon
Both artists strive to produce work that confronts the viewer and forces him/her to realize that everything is relative, no matter how brief the interactions are. As Locust's mission to showcase experimental, contemporary art, Rigau and Haendel's work will be on view through Saturday, March 2, so go find a connection.

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