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Media Archaeology by Jennifer West
Media Archaeology by Jennifer West

Media Archaeology by Jennifer West
Book Signing, Reading & Projections

MOCA Store Reading

MOCA Store is pleased to announce an evening of projections and readings with artist Jennifer West, historian and critic Norman Klein, as well as the book’s co-editors Andy Campbell and Chelsea Weathers, including special performances by Ariel West, Stella Chang Seganti and Kelsey Boncato. The event celebrates and activates West's debut monograph, Media Archaeology  (Radius Books, 2022), by drawing attention to the materiality of the book's semi-translucent jacket, which is loosely modeled after the artist’s Flashlight Filmstrip Projection works (2016).

In lieu of a formal conversation, West and her daughter with Saganti and Boncato will use powerful flashlights to activate pre-installed filmstrip quilts and book jackets to a musical soundtrack, before inviting the audience to participate in the interactive work. Klein, Weathers, and Campbell will also read portions of their individual contributions to the book, with West’s films projected as a live visual accompaniment.

Media Archaeology brings together nearly a decade of “analogital” experiments in film, sculpture, and installation by one of the most committed artists working on the West Coast today, saturated in a history of avant-garde and Third World cinema, including HIV/AIDS activism and the incipient Riot Grrrl movement, since she was an undergraduate at Evergreen State College. West’s work today treads similar ground; challenging the utopianism of new media adoptees as well as the nostalgia of analog-only film adherents.

The eleven projects reproduced in the book, all completed between 2014 and 2020, fall under the heading of “Media Archaeology,” and reveal the historical and material promiscuity of West’s experiments in film and art, often tied to the changing geography of Los Angeles and its surrounds. The monograph includes an interview with Stuart Comer, Curator of Media and Performance at MoMA, New York, and essays by Norman Klein, critic, novelist, and urban and media historian, Andy Campbell, art historian, critic and curator, and Chelsea Weathers, art historian and managing editor at Radius Books.

Jennifer West is an artist who has explored materialism in film for fifteen years. Born in Topanga, California, West lives and works in Los Angeles. She received an MFA from Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California, and a BA from Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington. Her work has shown at such venues as the Tate Modern (London), Whitney Museum of American Art (New York), Centre Pompidou (Paris), Yuz Museum (Shanghai), Carnegie Museum of Art (Pittsburg), Seattle Art Museum, White Columns (New York), among others.

Andy Campbell is a critic, curator, educator, and historian of contemporary art and design with particular emphasis on U.S. identity-based political movements of the 20th and 21st centuries, their archives, and afterlives. Recent monographs include Bound Together: Leather, Sex, Archives, and Contemporary Art, and Queer X Design. Together with Amelia Jones he edited the catalog Queer Communion: Ron Athey—named one of “The Best Art Books of 2020” by The New York Times. Campbell’s essays and reviews have appeared in Artforum, Xtra, GLQ, Dress, The Invisible Archive, and Turbo, amongst others. His current book project, Poverty and Practice, examines the material and procedural effects of—and silences around—poverty in contemporary artistic practice in the United States. Campbell is Associate Professor of Critical Studies at USC’s Roski School of Art and Design, and he lives in Gardena, CA.

Chelsea Weathers is a writer, archivist, and editor living in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Her art writing has appeared in Artforum, ArtLies, Criticism, Gulf Coast, Hyperallergic, and elsewhere. For the completion of her PhD at the University of Texas at Austin, where she focused on American avant-garde film practices, she wrote a dissertation about Andy Warhol’s cinema. From 2019 to 2021 she was the managing editor of Radius Books.

Norman Klein is a critic, urban and media historian, and novelist. His books include: The History of Forgetting: Los Angeles and the Erasure of Memory; Seven Minutes: The Life and Death of the American Animated Cartoon; The Vatican to Vegas: The History of Special Effects; Freud in Coney Island and Other Tales; and the database novel Bleeding Through: Layers of Los Angeles, 1920-86. He is currently completing an interactive historical science fiction novel titled The Imaginary Twentieth Century.