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File Under: Slime – Book Launch and A Brief History of Slime
File Under: Slime – Book Launch and A Brief History of Slime

File Under: Slime – Book Launch and A Brief History of Slime

Screening Reading

Artist Oliver Payne’s A Brief History of Slime (2022) borrows its title from Stephen Hawking’s best-selling book, A Brief History of Time (1988), and takes a Californian perspective on the global pervasiveness of American popular culture through the material phenomenon of slime. Payne's film is structured around the initial questions "What is California?" "What is Puke?" "What are Nukes?" and "What is Slime?" and unfolds as a whirlwind exposition of slime, consumerism, thrash metal, skateboard culture, and the Cold War, among other subjects. Payne's film deftly navigates East-West geopolitical divisions through a history of consumerism and cultural influences.

Artist and writer Christopher Michlig's book File Under: Slime (Hat & Beard Press, 2022) collates a cultural history of “slime” and “sliminess,” with particular emphasis on precedents in pop-culture, contemporary art, ecology, science fiction, literature, critical theory, and cinema.⁣ With a foreword by Los Angeles based writer and curator Jan Tumlir, File Under: Slime presents a chronological series of analyses of occurrences of slime, tracking its amorphous and pervasive seepage into the cultural conscience. File Under: Slime is rooted in Los Angeles' cinematic and artistic history, particularly in reference to Mike Kelley's writing on ufology and blob erotics. Former colleagues and students of Kelley, respectively, Michlig and Tumlir extend and develop an inquiry into the significance of slime as a cultural topos. File Under: Slime was designed by Los Angeles designer Brian Roettinger (Perron/Roettinger).

Following a screening of Payne's film and a short reading excerpt from Michlig's book, Jan Tumlir will moderate a discussion about the overarching connections and divergences related to the enduring influence of slime as a material and theoretical subject.

Following the moderated discussion there will be a book signing in the Reading Room.

Christopher Michlig makes work in a wide range of media, including collage, printmaking, sculpture, and film. Michlig’s work has been reviewed and featured in Artforum, The Los Angeles Times, Frieze, New City Art Chicago, among others. His work has been exhibited nationally and internationally, most recently at 1301 PE, Los Angeles, Nowhere Gallery, Milan, and Devening Projects + Editions, Chicago. Michlig received an MFA from ArtCenter College of Design, Pasadena, California and he is currently Associate Professor of art at the University of Oregon’s College of Design.

Jan Tumlir is an art-writer and teacher who lives in Los Angeles. He is a founding editor of the local art journal X-TRA, and a regular contributor to Artforum and Frieze. He has written catalog essays for such artists as Bas Jan Ader, Uta Barth, John Divola, Cyprien Gaillard, Allen Ruppersberg and James Welling. Books include: LA Artland, a survey of contemporary art in Los Angeles co-written with Chris Kraus and Jane McFadden, published by Black Dog Press in 2005; Hyenas Are…, a monograph on the work of Matthew Brannon, published by Mousse in 2011; The Magic Circle: On The Beatles, Pop Art, Art-Rock and Records, published by Onomatopee in 2015; and Conversations, in collaboration with Jorge Pardo, published by Inventory Press in 2021. In addition to serving as an MFA advisor at Art Center since 1999, Tumlir is presently also a visiting lecturer at SCI-Arc. Past teaching appointments have brought him to UCLA, UCR, USC, CalArts, and Otis College of Art and Design.

Oliver Payne (b. 1977, London) lives and works in Los Angeles, CA. He received his BFA from Kingston University of Fine Art in London. Solo exhibitions have been organized at Overduin & Co. in Los Angeles, Gavin Brown’s Enterprise in New York, Herald St in London, Frederico Vavassori in Milan, Nanzuka in Tokyo, and Aishonanzuka in Hong Kong. Working with Nick Relph, the pair received a Golden Lion award at the 2003 Venice Biennale. Payne’s work has been exhibited internationally at the Serpentine Gallery in London, the Kunsthalle Zürich, The National Museum of Contemporary Art in Oslo, MoMA PS1 in New York, the Institute of Contemporary Art in London, The Hammer Museum in Los Angeles and the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Payne’s work is included in the permanent collections of the Tate Britain in London, the Museum of Modern Art in New York, Centre Pompidou in Paris, and The National Museum of Contemporary Art in Oslo.