Systems Theory: Meeson Pae Yang at Blythe Projects

ExponentialSystems -- ecological, urban, architectural, bodily -- form the infrastructure underlying the intriguing work of LA-based installation and video artist Meeson Pae Yang, featured in a solo exhibit titled Permeate through July 9, 2011, at Blythe Projects in Culver City.

In the gallery's west space, a series of thin, three-sided, engraved, mirrored, plexiglass plates hang suspended from the ceiling at odd angles. Four video projections of what appear to be microscopic cells or blood platelets illuminate each of the gallery walls, and a deep low-pitched noise rumbles through the space. These elements combine to make you feel as though you've wondrously shrunk to microscopic size and somersaulted into a pulsing bloodstream.

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As you move delicately through the clear monofilament lines and suspended shapes, the air moves, too, and you suddenly see what look like slippery rays or skates - those mysterious flat sea creatures that skim across the ocean floor -- flitting across the walls and ceiling. The effect is surprisingly delightful as the rays zoom and careen around the room. It only takes a few moments to realize that they are not part of the blue-tinged projections but instead are reflections of the projection light, with the mirrored surfaces bouncing the light and preserving the patterns etched on them. The more quickly you move, disturbing the air, the more activity you see across the walls (and by extension, the more your own blood pulses).

FlareThe project is titled Exponential, perhaps referencing the divergent scales of experience we inhabit within the project, one foot firmly planted in the gallery, and the other knocked out from under us as we tumble among hundreds of platelets.

In the gallery's east space, small clear globes filled with what look like living plants hang suspended from the ceiling, rendering a mix of the organic and inorganic in some kind of curiously systematized scientific garden. In her artist's statement, Yang points to the work of scientist James Lovelock, who, in the 1960s, put forth the Gaia Hypothesis, explaining that the earth is a complex system that regulates itself. "I am interested in exploring these interconnected systems, which keep our environment in order, to highlight the wonder of it all," writes Yang, and her work in both galleries crafts mysterious systems that, at their best, conjure exactly this sense of wonder.

About the Author

Holly Willis teaches in USC's School of Cinematic Arts and writes about new media art. She is the author of "New Digital Cinema: Reinventing the Moving Image" and editor of "The New Ecology of Things" on pervasive computing.
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