Spying On Lace Visitors

February 22, 1987|ZAN DUBIN



Don't visit Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions if you like your privacy. Starting Friday, most of the downtown gallery space will be under "Surveillance," LACE's latest show.
Myriad video cameras and hidden mikes will expose viewers' bodies and voices. The recorded information will be shown on monitors in the central LACE gallery.
"The whole building--our main offices, the bookstore and the main gallery--will be under audio and video surveillance," said Jeff Mann, LACE exhibitions coordinator, "so you'll be able to see whatever is going on in any part of the building from the main gallery."
The new show, which includes recorded videos and still photographs, explores surveillance--the intrusion of contemporary technology into people's lives. Its message is carried through artworks created with security and surveillance techniques and devices, such as cameras used to monitor supermarket shoppers or illegal immigrants at the U.S.-Mexico border.
"It's not just about surveillance," Mann said. "The way the works were done was by surveillance," many of them captured with concealed cameras or microphones.
About 30 artists, selected by curators Deborah Irmas and Branda Miller, contributed to the show.
"As people walk into the building," Mann said, "they'll be under the surveillance of electronic infrared heat-seeking intrusion detectors," part of a piece by Julia Scher on the outside of the LACE building.
"It's a banner that's hanging above the door, studded with these heat-seeking devices. As you enter, the seekers pick up your presence and lights flash and bells ring."
Inside, Gary Lloyd's "radio painting" is bugged to monitor viewers' conversations, and his heart-shaped radio transmitter sends out visitors' conversations over all airwaves within 10 blocks of LACE.
Other works include government landsat photographs (pictures taken from space) of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, and a six-part video program with such segments as "Private Space/Public Space," "Government Spooks" and "Viewer/Voyeur." Sam Samore and John Baldessari are represented by photographs they instructed other people to take. The exhibition continues until April 12.

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