The University of California Institute for Research in the Arts supports embedded arts research through critical exchange

UCIRA Artist Micha Cárdenas curated exhibition Many Worlds, Many Times–ARTifact Gallery Spring Exhibition

when: 2011-04-06, starts at 6:30pm
where: Pepper Canyon Hall 257 (UCSD)

WHAT: Many Worlds, Many Times–ARTifact Gallery Spring Exhibition




Featuring the work of:

Zach Blas
Sadie Barnette
Ela Boyd
Monica Duncan
Anya Gallaccio
Chris Head
Chris Kardambikis
Frankie Martin
Laura Odell
Nira Pereg
Cauleen Smith
Pinar Yoldas

CONTACT: Curated by UCIRA Artist Micha Cárdenas,, 858-534-1207

WHEN: April 6 – June 10th, 2011

Gallery Events

Opening reception Wednesday, April 6th, 2011, 6:30pm – 8:30pm
Pepper Canyon Hall 257
Including a screening of Cauleen Smith’s film The Fullness of Time

Panel Discussion on “Science Fiction and Speculative Thought as Social Critique and Social Action”
Cauleen Smith, Professor of Visual Art
K. Wayne Yang, Professor of Ethnic Studies
Zach Blas, PhD Candidate at Duke University

MACOKE (Most Awesome Chill Out Klub Ever) Project Project, 8:30pm-9:30pm
MACOKE will be projecting games for large scale playing outside on South side of Sixth College Building. (MACOKE meetings are currently held in the Sixth College Commuter’s Lounge from 6:00-11:00pm on Tuesdays.)

Panel Discussion, “World Building and Contemporary Art”
Friday, April 22nd, 3pm
Pepper Canyon Hall 257

Featuring Kim Stanley Robinson
Sheldon Brown, Professor of Visual Art
Cauleen Smith, Professor of Visual Art
Christopher Kardambikis, MFA Candidate

The Culture, Art and Technology (CAT) program at the Sixth College of UCSD is proud to present the new ARTifact gallery exhibition for the Spring 2011 quarter, Many Worlds, Many Times, curated by Micha Cárdenas, Interim Associate Director of Art and Technology for Sixth College. The ARTifact gallery exists as a physical gallery in the CAT core offices as well as an online exhibition space at the CAT website, The gallery acts as an integrated learning laboratory, transforming the working environment of CAT students, staff and faculty into a hybrid space in which contemporary art can be part of the dialog of interdisciplinary undergraduate learning curriculum in Sixth College.

Curatorial Statement

““Hume’s empiricism is a sort of science-fiction universe avant la lettre. As in science fiction, one has the impression of a fictive foreign world, seen by other creatures, but also the presentiment that this world is already ours, and those creatures, ourselves.”
- Gilles Deleuze, Pure Immanence: Essays on A Life

“El mundo que queremos es uno donde quepan muchos mundos.”
“In the world we want many worlds to fit.”
- Fourth Declaration of the Selva Lacandon, Subcomandante Insurgente Marcos Indigenous Clandestine Revolutionary Committee General Command of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation Mexico

The courses in the Culture, Art and Technology program for Spring 2011 enact a vision of a multiplicity of worlds and times, on many levels: the science fiction imaginary, phenomenological approaches to time and a world experienced through sound are just a few.

Imagining and building worlds is a practice that intersects with science, art, politics and philosophy. While postmodern theories have been criticized for obscuring reality and focusing excessively on language, emerging theories of difference including postcolonial theory, queer theory and disability studies may offer a different resolution of this impasse. “Many Worlds, Many Times” offers a number of models for imagining multiple, simultaneous worlds and times. Theorists such as Jack Halberstam have made ‘the perhaps overly ambitious claim that there is such a thing as “queer time” and “queer space.”’[1] On the other hand, one can see the acceptance and embrace of multiple worlds, times and realities as a fundamental characteristic of late postmodernism or post-postmodernism. While Frederick Jameson has claimed that late postmodernism is characterized by a return to the real, I argue that such a return is impossible. In contrast, thinkers such as Halberstam and Gilles Deleuze propose a multiplicity of times and spaces which coexist. What postcolonial and queer theories offer is a world in which many worlds fit, to refer to the Zapatistas. In these theories of difference, to attempt to claim that one hegemonic conception of time and space is more real than others is unacceptable. Many contemporary artists such as Blast Theory, Mez Breeze and my own work with Elle Mehrmand demonstrate what I have termed the transreal: artworks that cross boundaries of multiple realities with a nuance for a multiplicity of worlds, using reality as a medium.

For the Spring 2011 ARTifact exhibition, I have chosen a number of artists who enact the multiple worlds explored by the CAT curriculum this quarter. Chris Kardambikis’ paintings use comic-inspired imagery to enact a rich science fiction world building project that resonates deeply with Prof. K. Wayne Yang’s class “Worldmaking”. Anya Gallaccio’s pieces in the show use nanoscopic imagery to reveal the many worlds existing in the dirt on your windowsill or sand on a beach. “Actualities” by Ela Boyd speculates on the multiple worlds held in objects: their pasts and futures, their perception and their virtualities as objects in becoming. The French postmodernist philosopher Deleuze writes about these modes of understanding the everyday world as something other-worldly, when he states that “Hume’s empiricism is a sort of science-fiction universe avant la lettre”. The multiplicity of the world as described by Deleuze here can be seen to support the visions of writers such as Halberstam who envision multiple worlds from a standpoint of differences in lived experience.

Nira Pereg’s work uses a closely related a strategy, which she calls “re-looking”, and close observation. Pereg’s work explores the interplay of public and private space, creating yet another way of imagining the multiple worlds we pass through each day and how each of them have their own qualities and change both how we perceive ourselves and how we act. This quarter’s show will include Pereg, visiting Innovator-in-Residence at UCSD, thanks to a collaboration with ArtPwr.

Many times are imagined by the artists in the show as well, demonstrating a rich set of ideas for Prof. Stefan Tanaka’s class “A History of Time: Time and Modern Society” to engage with. Zach Blas’ work “Transcoder” imagines an alternate way technology could have developed through his Queer Technologies project. Transcoder includes impossible functions such as qTime(), inspired by Halberstam’s writing, which would cause a computer to shift into an alternate conception of time whenever called by a program. Frankie Martin’s project “Caught in the Web” explores the queer time of the internet through a character lost in the web who wonders where she is and how long she’s been there, all the while expressing a dysfunctional desire which longs for a connection with another. Chris Head’s “2-1” explores the endless algorithmic time of video games by considering the time of a single character from the game Super Mario Bros.

Cauleen Smith and Sadie Barnette’s pieces in the show engage the rich history of Afro-futurism, in close dialog with K. Wayne Yang’s “Worldmaking” class, which goes beyond an understanding of the technical aspects of world building in film or literature to examine the way that imagined worlds can act as a lens on daily injustices and their possible future consequences. Their works also enact the strange empiricism of Hume, described by Deleuze, in which elements of everyday life slip into other places and times. Like artists such as Sun-Ra, their work enacts possible futures that figure black and African peoples at the center of their narratives, demonstrating the power of science fiction as a mode of social critique. As the EZLN wrote in their Second Declaration of the Selva Lacandon, their social movement imagines and struggles for a world where many worlds fit, not one with a hegemonic narrative, a single way of life and a privileged form of embodiment.

Many of the works in the show cross boundaries by shifting both time and space. Monica Duncan and Laura Odell’s “Living Pictures (Behind the Auto Store)” creates a world in which the main characters are perfectly still, blending in with the environment and creating a photo out of a video. Still, in the Living Pictures series the viewer is presented with the sound of the world in real time, belying the fact that they are watching a video. These scenes create an uncanny world, in which a person stands still but people move around them, creating a crashing together of times as passers by stop to look. This simple gesture of stillness creates a space of strangeness where one imagines these characters operating at a different time scale or trapped in a cosmic error of dromos out of sync with chronos. Duncan’s work resonates with Nancy Guy’s course “Listening to the World”, as the viewer relies on sound cues to understand the strangely poetic scene before their eyes and the ambient sounds come into sharp focus.

Evoking other-worldly biologies, Pinar Yoldas’ work “Fabula” also utilizes an aesthetic of confusion which gives the viewer pause. Bizarre creatures suspended in fluid evoke fantastic possibilities of alien biologies by utilizing responsive sculpture. Both this work and Ela Boyd’s work in the show play with the viewer’s perception, shifting through different meanings with longer viewing and questioning such concepts as visual proof. They bring to life questions from Tanaka’s course and Prof. Cheryl Peach’s course such as these: how does technology relate to human perception, representation, and social organization; how do we know what we know; and how do we know we’re not wrong?

[1] Judith Halberstam, In A Queer Time and Place: Transgender Bodies, Subcultural Lives, p. 1, NYU Press, New York and London, 2005

Artist Bios

Sadie Barnette is from Oakland, California. She received her BFA from CalArts in 2006, and is currently pursuing her Masters in Visual Arts at the University of California, San Diego. She says the following about her practice: “Look at a Venn diagram. I exist in the space where the circles overlap and layer. Something as simple and geometric as a circle can serve as a tool for identity (de)construction. My work draws on this possibility, allowing simple forms and gestures to present ideas of social chaos, the fragility of being, ecstasy and the impossible. I use drawing, photography, and objects to construct a visual language system out of sub-culture codes and west coast vernacular, economic formalism and abstractions. I activate meaning and power in anonymous faces, signs for nothing, and negative space.”

Zach Blas is an artist and writer working at the intersections of networked media, queerness, and the political. He is particularly interested in activist art that address the methods and styles in which technologies, bodies, and capital impact, reconstitute, and proliferate assemblages of sexuality, gender, and knowledge, alongside the potentials and possibilities of reshaping these assemblages as well as reconfiguring un/human modes of agency and resistance. His current project, Queer Technologies, is an organization that develops applications and situations for queer intervention and social formation. Zach has recently exhibited at the Highways Performance Space, Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions, File Electronic Language International Festival in Brazil and the 2010 Arse Elektronika Festival in San Francisco, where he was the recipient of a Prixxx Arse Elektronika.

Ela Boyd is currently a Visual Art MFA candidate at UCSD. She is originally from Hollywood, CA and received her BFA from California College of Arts in San Francisco. In her work, she explores phenomenological issues with the interplay of light, space and time. Her methodology involves collapsing spatiotemporal modalities using photography, collage, sculpture and new media installation works. Most recently, she has been working with interactive media to fuse various modes of visual perception and offer an experience of a new ontological paradigm. Her work has been exhibited in various galleries and art spaces within California, including LA Center for Digital Art, Lawrence Ascher Gallery, Barnsdall Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery and Pharmaka Gallery. In 2005, Boyd attended an artist residency at Est Nord Est in Quebec and has been included International exhibitions in Canada and Portugal.

Anya Gallaccio emerged in the late ’80s as part of the group of young British artists from Goldsmiths College in London. Since her first appearance in the historic 1988 Freeze exhibition, she has become established internationally, having exhibited at the Sculpture Centre, New York and Palazzo Delle Papesse, Sienna, and completed major commissions, including ‘Motherlode’ where she collaborated with vintner Zelma Long to make six zinfandel wines in Sonoma Valley. She has exhibited widely in the UK including Camden Art Centre, ICA, and Serpentine in London; the Ikon Gallery in Birmingham and Bluecoat, Liverpool. Gallaccio was nominated for the Turner Prize and received the prestigious Sculpture Commission for the Duveen Gallery at Tate Britain in 2003. In 2009 she prepared a major new work for ‘Radical Nature’ at the Barbican, London. Gallaccio’s works are held in a variety of public collections including Tate; the Arts Council; The British Council Collection; South London Gallery; Victoria and Albert Museum; Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; Seattle Art Museum and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney. Gallaccio is known for her early projects employing natural materials, including a room painted with chocolate (1994), an enormous ice block which melted over the duration of the exhibition in the Wapping Pumping Station (1996) to her intricate lawn design at Compton Verney, (2000). Gallaccio’s work paradoxically shifts between minimal approaches to form and a highly intuitive process. Often using the strategies of minimalism, the grid and modular units, and overturning them through the perishable organic materials she sources, such as fruit, trees, flowers, ice and sugar. The elemental quality of these materials results in natural processes of transformation and decay, often with unpredictable results which are dialogue with land artists 60’s including Robert Smithson and Walter de Maria and their interest in entropy.

Christopher Head is a software artist focused on the intersection of software design, games, and art practice. He produces projects in a variety of forms including computer visualization, simulation, games, and hardware hacking. Christopher is heavily involved with both established and emerging technologies, specifically in creating Open Source/Free art, and moving the mechanics of computer-mediated gameplay out of the established realm of entertainment and into an artistic context. Christopher received his Bachelor of Fine Arts from San Jose State University while working in the CADRE Laboratory for New Media.

Christopher Kardambikis is exploring an absurd mythology for the future through drawings, paintings, and books. He has co-founded two artist book projects: the Pittsburgh-based Encyclopedia Destructica (with Jasdeep Khaira) and the San Diego-based Gravity and Trajectory (with Louis Schmidt).  He has been an artist in residence at the Vermont Studio Center, the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, the Millay Colony, and the Pittsburgh Center of the Arts. Kardambikis received a BFA in Fine Arts from Carnegie Mellon University in 2005 and is currently pursuing an MFA at the University of California, San Diego.

Frankie Martin’s work uses comedy as a frame of reference to open the door to a radical re-thinking of the social construct. Frankie’s video and hyper masculine performance work complicates the idea of what is appropriate via confusing semi-public space for private, creating homosocial spaces and abstracting language. Frankie is currently working on a book of creative nonfiction. Frankie is represented by CANADA in New York City and has shown work at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, MOMA, Moore Space, Orange County Museum of Art and more. Frankie is currently attending the MFA program at the University of California San Diego.

Nira Pereg’s work deals with ways that social structures intersect with the authority of the individual. Typically, her projects are documentary-based, but transform reality into an quasi-theatrical events. Using complex editing techniques and various-scaled multimedia installations, Pereg’s interest in socials schemes draws on a unique and personal perspective. “Re-looking” is a primary concern in her work practice and her everyday life, and often  builds on periods of intense travel and close  observations. Pereg, born in in Israel, spent the 90s in New-York, where she  received a B.F.A from Cooper Union. On her return to Israel, she graduated from the Bezalel M.F.A studio program in  Jerusalem, and has been teaching internationally  ever since. Pereg’s works have been exhibited at PS 1 New  York, HDK  Berlin, KW Berlin, ZKM Karlsruhe, the Israeli Museum of Art in Jerusalem, Sammlung Goetz-München, Edith-Ruß-Haus für Medienkunst, The Tel-Aviv  Museum of Art, and at various festivals and  galleries. She recently received the Nathan Gottesdiener Foundation Israeli Art Prize for young artist.

Cauleen Smith has received grants or fellowships from the Rockefeller Inter-Cultural Media Arts Fellowship, the American Film Institute Independent Film and Videomaker Program, the National Black Programming Consortium, and a Western States Regional Fellowship, Artmatters, and Creative Capital. Smith was commissioned by Creative Time and Paul Chan to produce a video response to the city of New Orleans 2 years post-Katrina. The project, entitled, The Fullness of Time, premiered at The Kitchen and won the jury award for best film at the New Orleans International Film Festival. Smith is using the Creative Capital sponsorship to produce a series of digital videos that re-enact historical instances in which a traumatic human gesture of negation resembles earth sculpture or land arts projects from the early seventies. Her screenplay adaptation for the Martha Southgate novel Third Girl From The Left is being produced by Washington Square Films, with George C. Wolfe attached to direct and Kerry Washington as executive producer. Smith is currently shooting an experimental psychogeographic film on Sun Ra, improvisation, and creative music in Chicago, IL. As a community building curatorial project for San Diego, Smith opened the Carousel Microcinema, a roving cinema space dedicated to the viewing and discussion of the moving image. The programs combine historical avant-garde and conceptual works with contemporary and emerging works ranging in genre from performance video to structuralist materialist filmmaking.  Cauleen Smith’s short films are distributed by Canyon Cinema and Video Data bank. Beginning in the Spring of 2011 to May of 2021 Smith, as acting associate professor in the department of visual arts,  will be on residency at University of California, San Diego. The Year And Change Artist Residency is a public research laboratory that produces workshops and disseminates objects for and the the UCSD campus community as a means of exploring utopia, campus culture, collegiality, and art practice as research and production.

About the curator: Micha Cárdenas [] is an artist/theorist whose transreal work mixes physical and networked spaces in order to explore emerging forms of queer relationality, biopolitics and DIY horizontal knowledge production. She is the Interim Associate Director of Art and Technology for UCSD’s Sixth College in the Culture, Art and Technology program. She has been a lecturer in the Visual Arts department and Critical Gender Studies program at UCSD. She is an artist/researcher with the UCSD School of Medicine, CRCA and the b.a.n.g. lab at Calit2. Her recent publications include Trans Desire/Affective Cyborgs, with Barbara Fornssler, from Atropos Press, “I am Transreal”, in Gender Outlaws: The Next Generation from Seal Press and “Becoming Dragon: A Transversal Technology Study” in Code Drift from CTheory. Her collaboration with Elle Mehrmand, “Mixed Relations,” was the recipient of the UCIRA Emerging Fields Award for 2009. She has exhibited and performed in biennials, museums and galleries in cities around the world including Los Angeles, San Diego, Tijuana, New York, San Francisco, Montreal, Egypt, Ecuador, Spain, Saas-Fee, Switzerland, Dublin, Ireland and many other places. Her work has been written about in publications including Art21, the Associated Press, the LA Times, CNN, BBC World, Wired and Rolling Stone Italy.

micha cárdenas
Interim Associate Director of Art and Technology
Culture, Art and Technology Program, Sixth College, UCSD

Co-Author, Trans Desire / Affective Cyborgs, Atropos Press,
Artist/Researcher, UCSD School of Medicine
Artist/Theorist, bang.lab,



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