Hill, New Mexico, USA, 2014
Digital C-prints from film negatives

To choose to not be responsible is still to be responsible
Aluminum, steel, copal

Just when you thought you returned you must take up your oar and leave again
Rope, bookbinding thread

Moon, Base, Earth
John Emison, Jonathan Ryan, Chandler Wigton
February 15 – March 23, 2015
Tiger Strikes Asteroid, Los Angeles

On a planet where the human population continues to grow at an exponential rate and human infrastructure increasingly encroaches on pre-human lands, the possibility and purpose of new exploration in physical landscapes must also shift. The artists in Moon, Base, Earth explore landscape through phantasy as a way to accesses the emancipatory potential of that freedom.

“‘Phantasy’ is a Greek word that literally means ‘a making visible’ and it is defined by the OED as ‘imagination, visionary notion’. The dictionary also suggests that ‘fantasy’ and ‘phantasy’, in spite of their identity in sound and in ultimate etymology, should be apprehended as separate words: the predominant sense of fantasy being ‘caprice, whim, fanciful invention’, while that of phantasy is ‘imagination, visionary notion.’ ” [1]

Writing on Andrei Tarkovsky’s Solaris, Nariman Shakov describes the astronauts’ phantasies on Solaris as slipping between the conscious and unconscious, making difficult to assess that which is imagined and that which is sensed. While phantasy can make literal the phantoms of one’s personal or collective past, it can also be leveraged to realize new alternatives. Phantasy-making, as defined by Herbert Marcuse, “begins already with the game of children, and later, continued as day-dreaming, abandons its dependence on real objects.” [2]

Moon, Base, Earth includes the activities of three emerging artists who create new spaces within drawn territories for a re-examination of current conditions and contingent alternatives. Their interior exploration creates new landscapes as physical, image-based, philosophical, and psychological spaces. Each of their practices shares an affinity with the uncanny and phantasy as the artists continue living on a planet in which the smallest cracks and fissures open up into vast and expansive vistas.

(1) Nariman Shokov, The Cinema of Tarkovsky: Labyrinths of Space and Time (New York: I.B. Tauris, 2012), 78.

(2) Herbert Marcuse, Eros and Civilization (1955; reprint, London: Routledge, 1997), 140.