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Physicists say that it is theoretically possible to time travel into the future, but not into the past. Imagine, though, interactive live art that could function like a time-machine and challenge this assumption. Encountering Professor Edgar Arceneaux’s work is to experience this kind of time travel, moving fluidly through the past, the present and the future. For instance, when witnessing/participating in his interactive, multi-media, temporally fluid live performance art, Until, Until, Until, one moves through time and in time, where “linear logic is abandoned in favor of wordplay and visual associations.” Arceneaux’s work is what one critic called, “time-based action art,” which explores historical patterns, while simultaneously interfacing with contemporary discriminative attitudes. Americans, Arceneaux has said, like to envision their history as “progressive and triumphant.” But much in the stories is left out, invisible, purposely forgotten, erased. For this session, Professor Arceneaux will move us through the intersection between history, memory, and trauma, with the intention to fill in the absent spaces and radically change our course ahead.
Edgar Arceneaux, Artist and Associate Professor of Art
Edgar Arceneaux was born in Los Angeles in 1972. He investigates historical patterns and present day truths through drawings, installations, and multimedia events. In the artist’s work, linear logic is abandoned in favor of wordplay and visual associations, revealing how language, technology, and systems of ordering produce reality as much as describe them. Seemingly disparate elements—such as science fiction, civil rights era speeches, techno music, and the crumbling architecture of Detroit—find a new synchronicity in the artist’s hands, ultimately pointing to larger historical forces. His work has been featured at the Hammer Museum, the Whitney Biennial, the Studio Museum in Harlem, Performa 15, and the MIT List Visual Arts Center, among other venues. Arceneaux is an Associate Professor of Art for Roski School of Art and Design at USC; he lives and works in Pasadena, California.