Dowsing Unit I (Pantaliamon)

Pendulum Dowser by Sarah Cathers

Dye-sublimation print on aluminum, pendulum dowser (silicon carbide, plastidip, sterling silver)

Existential Coping Complex I (The Pastel City)

Amethyst sourced by Anna Nearburg

Ash tray by John Zane Zappas

Dye-sublimation print on aluminum, tempered glass, chrome brackets, amethyst geode, Up the Walls of the World by James Tiptree Jr., Shikasta by Doris Lessing, The Cat: a Tale of Feminine Redemption by Marie-Louise von Franz, Flesh and Gold by Phyllis Gottlieb, Midnight Robber by Nalo Hopkinson, ceramic vase, Dark Heart Dream Queen marijuana clone, soil, wooden ash tray, indica ash, ceramic tile, found images, Polaroid

 

Oracle Table

Coins designed by Emily Ebba Reynolds

Extruded aluminum table, glass, nanopigment print on silk charmeuse, coins, I Ching: the Book of Changes trans. by Wilhelm and Baynes, notebook, faux-Eames rocking chairs

 

Dowsing Unit II (Wild Seed)

Pendulum Dowser by Sarah Cathers

Dye-sublimation print on aluminum, pendulum dowser (black tourmaline, plastidip, sterling silver)

Existential Coping Complex II (City of Illusions)

Chalcedony sourced by Anna Nearburg

Ash tray by John Zane Zappas

Dye-sublimation print on aluminum, tempered glass, chrome brackets, blue chalcedony, The Snail on the Slope by Boris and Arkady Strugatsky, Nebula Maker and Four Encounters by Olaf Stapledon, The Centauri Device by M. John Harrison, The Claw of the Conciliator by Gene Wolfe, The Stars My Destination by Alfred Bester, ceramic vase, Purple City Shapeshifter marijuana clone, soil, wooden ash tray, sativa ash, ceramic tile, found images, Polaroid

For my recent exhibition at Interface Gallery in Oakland, CA, Portentology, I imagine the gallery as a kind of divination room, presenting a series of new photographs along with related objects –science fiction books, religious iconography, drug paraphernalia, and divination tools—that allude to the many ways we try to make meaning of the world and predict what’s to come.

 

Among the objects are works made by artists I invited to contribute: John Zappas (wooden ash trays), Sarah Cathers (pendulum dowsers), Anna Nearburg (stone and metal book ends), and Emily Reynolds (custom designed coins). The objects are presented on shelves and on a table in the center of the gallery, where three coins and a copy of the I Ching invite visitors to cast and read their own hexagrams (I was also available to cast hexagrams for interested visitors at the opening of the exhibition and during specified gallery hours). Two Eames chairs–the “chair of tomorrow”–are provided for visitors to sit and read the books presented.

 

Attempting to divine the future, be it through philosophical or psychological inquiry, chance methods, or altered states, is a universal endeavor with ancient roots and one that has a particular urgency given the political uncertainty of our times. In Portentology I invite the viewer to consider the various methods of reading signs in the world—from stars and coins, to the reading of novels and visual art—as valid forms of meaning-making that, while sometimes ephemeral, can be deeply nourishing, informative, and even hopeful activities.