Human Resources

Touching Them Touching You – A Love Song for the Dead C
Solo Show by Helga Fassonaki

March 24th – April 22nd 
Opening Reception: March 24th, 7-10pm
Trapdoor Fucking Exit performance series: April 20th-22nd
Human Resources, 410 Cottage Home Street, LA, CA 90012

The gap between the moment of performance and the moment of listening is a black hole, one of the strongest conduits of distortion imaginable. “Between thought and expression lies a lifetime”.  The gulf between intent and perception is of unfathomable length and unfathomable depth, and it is in this chasm that we exist as consumers of culture, as collectors of cultural detritus.

For us that consume culture, the artist (the musician especially) is a purely functional device: armor to ward off workday spells, a crowbar to crack open new modes of consciousness, the long pole in the tent preventing the weight of the modern world from completely crushing us.  This is a one-way street, a deal inked by the receiver, with little if any guarantee of equal exchange at the supply end of the chain.  It is a one-way street and we’re happy to keep it that way.  Who wants to meet their heroes? Everyone – so long as the heroes conform exactly to the images we have constructed of them that is.  Perhaps that’s why most instances of fan contact are so tightly controlled: a concert, a signing – it’s for our good, not theirs.  Worst case scenario: artist is met by fan – through direct contact the curtains are pulled back to reveal their work as frail and rickety, the product of human hands and thereby prone to error, failure, greed, heartbreak…  The chinks in our armor would then appear, allowing the world to pour into the heart and head, unmitigated, scalding…

Man is expendable, myth is not.  Myth is the air we breathe, man is but a bag of bones with an insatiable need to procreate and nothing to gift us bar the dismissively obvious.  Fundamentalists and biblical scholars are wrong when they present evidence for the literal existence of Christ.  Nothing could matter less.  Regardless of who was or wasn’t nailed up, the skin of myth walks amongst us still, used as a shield against a world confused and confusing.  Like a Nirvana T-shirt.  Like a Patti Smith song.  Like a Coltrane record.  Like the fiction of Paris in 1920.  Like the fiction of San Francisco in 1966.  Like the fiction of Dunedin in 1987.  Like the fiction of Los Angeles in 2012…
-Andrew Scott

Human Resources is pleased to present Touching Them Touching You – A Love Song for the Dead C, a solo show by Helga Fassonaki from March 24th through April 22nd with an opening reception on March 24th from 7pm-10pm.  The show closes the weekend of April 20th to the 22nd with Trapdoor Fucking Exit, a performance series, featuring the live performances by Fassonaki and other artists influenced by the legendary New Zealand underground rock band, the Dead C. 

Fassonaki’s installation will transform the upstairs exhibition space of Human Resources into a simulacrum of post-punk 1980’s Dunedin, more specifically the Empire Tavern, where the first appearances of the Dead C shook ground. This show is the first in a multimedia and performance series in which Fassonaki situates herself in the position of a Hagiographer, visually depicting the lives of her musical gods – their culture and world that she has incorporated into her own, often through rose tinted glasses.  Through the use of sound, assemblage, performance, photos, and video, she explores her relation to the Dead C, as fan, artist, and musician. In painting her idols in an unfailingly positive light, these hagiographic portrayals also reveal how mass glorification can hide the real facts, truths, and dark areas of a culture. But this is a glorification that also leads to a pulsating energy from within, and an urge to destroy in order to create anew.

About the Artist
Floating between worlds of unconventional music and visual art, Helga Fassonaki’s multidisciplinary practice approaches each of these worlds with insights gained from the other. Her practice, including her music-performance projects, Metal Rouge and Yek Koo, are informed by New York No Wave musicians and their defying of categorization, audience, and convention; the poetic, political and physical chants of Patti Smith; and the raw and damaged sounds of New Zealand’s free noise music of the Le Jazz Non era for stretching the parameters of improvisation.  Informed by such artists and their integration of art, music, and culture, she has created installations, group situations, films, and performances that utilize and question temporality, power structures, subcultures, fan cultures, and the human voice as a crucible for positive transformation.   Fassonaki’s work has been exhibited at UCLA’s New Wright Gallery, Elysian Park Museum of Art, LACE, Blue Oyster Gallery (Dunedin, NZ), Orange County Museum of Art, and California College of the Arts, among others. She has performed in Open Melody Festival at UC Irvine, Ear&Eye Festival (Auckland, NZ), On Land Festival (San Francisco), Human Resources (LA), Public Fiction (LA), and a multitude of other galleries and venues throughout the country. More recently, she performed with Lady Noise and artist Dawn Kasper for the 2012 Whitney Biennale and Autonomie gallery part of FAR’s Pacific Non-Standard Time. She is also the co-founder of the Emerald Cocoon record label, which focuses on experimental, psychedelic, and avant-garde music. http://helgafassonaki.net/

About the Host
Human Resources was founded by a team of creative individuals who seek to broaden engagement with contemporary and conceptual art, with an emphasis on performative and underexposed modes of expression.  Human Resources is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit and seeks to foster widespread public appreciation of the performative arts by encouraging maximum community access. Human Resources also serves as a point of convergence for diverse and disparate art communities to engage in conversation and idea-sharing promoting the sustainability of non-traditional art forms.  For more information about Human Resources, please see www.humanresourcesla.com

-JO

My Barbarian residency at Human Resources

My Barbarian Performs in Its Exhibition. Court Entertainments. Costume. The Five Seasons. The Artisan’s Lament. Gods of Play! Writhing Martyrs? The Cassandra. The Truth Circle. Further Personifications and Oracular Visions. Exeunt Aqua and Her Train of Nymphs. 

Performance, Saturday, March 3
Doors at 8pm, Performance at 9pm. Free.

Exhibition on view through March 10. 
Gallery Hours: Thur-Sat 12-6pm, and by appointment. 
 “Artistic innovation

Patronized by royal advisors
Wasteful spending
In a time of destruction and war
Gods of Play! 1
Artificial dolphins
Spitting plumes
Of Aqua in fake island fountains
Infrastructure crumbles
As the pleasure palace rises”
– Gods of Play by My Barbarian

Human Resources presents My Barbarian’s Broke People’s Baroque Peoples’ Theater, a residency in the form of a gallery installation that includes new videos, sculptures, and a performance environment.  The project highlights the paradoxes of an art practice founded in critique, which nonetheless relies on economic forces that are worthy of serious criticism.  In this time of spectacle and disparity, excess and poverty, the baroque figures as an ornate frame that contains all of these extremes.  My Barbarian performs a variety of styles within this frame; camp drag, baroque opera, communist drama, countercultural performance and world theater all accumulate into a set of narratives that assimilate too much information.  Enacting this accumulation, the group developed characters such as “Shakuntala DuBois” and “Cassandra Wasserstein Shakespeare,” masked figures who are trapped within cyclical forces they can foresee but cannot change.

The exhibition includes new works that stretch My Barbarian’s material vocabulary. These include “Tapestries,” or stylized videos projected on cloth surfaces, “Oracles,” which are Junoesque totemic figures that attempt to tell the future, and a large-scale model of a baroque theater, which becomes a context for miniature performances.  Theatrical elements, including a series of original masks and dramatic lighting, fill out the colorful environment.  

Featuring these and other new works, Broke People’s Baroque Peoples’ Theater evolves out of a 2011 performance at the Kitchen, New York and a 2010 workshop and installation at Grand Arts, Kansas City, where the project was initiated as a part of artist Emily Roysdon’s Ecstatic Resistance exhibition.  These versions used live interactions to present the absurdities of the American financial crisis as a performance of wastefulness, trashiness and class warfare. 

Following the mission of Human Resources, and the notion of excess, My Barbarian’s installation will also serve as a venue for several related screenings, events and performances throughout the residency. 

Based in Los Angeles since 2000, My Barbarian has performed and exhibited internationally.  Solo exhibitions have included Participant Inc. (NYC), Hammer Museum (LA) and Museo El Eco (Mexico City).  Performance sites have included the Kitchen, New Museum, Whitney Museum, (NYC), LACMA, MOCA, REDCAT, (LA), Power Plant, (Toronto), De Appel (Amsterdam), El Matadero (Madrid), Galleria Civica (Trento), Peres Projects (Berlin) and Townhouse Gallery (Cairo).  The group was included in Performa 05 and 07, the 2006 and 2008 California Biennials, the 2007 Montreal Biennial, and the 2009 Baltic Triennial, and has appeared in group shows at the Studio Museum in Harlem, ICA Philadelphia, Hyde Park Art Center Chicago, MOCA Miami, Den Haag Sculptuur, Museum Het Domain, CCA Tel Aviv, Anton Kern Gallery in New York, and many others.  My Barbarian has received grants from Creative Capital (2012), Art Matters (2008), and the City of LA Cultural Affairs Department (2010).  Their work has been discussed in the New Yorker, New York Times, LA Times, Artforum, Art in America, Frieze, various international newspapers, and in José Muñoz’s Cruising Utopia: The Then and There of Queer Futurity.  My Barbarian is Malik Gaines, Jade Gordon, and Alexandro Segade.

-JO