Member
Your donation supports our high-quality, inspiring and commercial-free programming.
Support Icon
Discover all the ways you can make a difference.
Support Icon
The Leadership, Advancement, Membership and Special Events teams are here to help.

Artbound Special Episode 'AgH2O'

Support Provided By
LA-Aqueduct-mark-01

On November 5, 1913, the Los Angeles Aqueduct began bringing water to the city. 100 years later, KCET is looking at what has happened, what it means, and more across its website. See more stories here.

Artbound's one-hour special looks at Lauren Bon and the Metabolic Studio's "AgH2O" project which connects the elements mined from the Owens Valley, silver and water, to the emergence of the film industry. Silver mined from the Owens Valley was shipped to Rochester, New York, where it was used to make film. That film was then shipped back to Hollywood where films where made -- often shot on locations where the silver itself was from.

In this episode, Artbound focuses on the Optics Division of the Metabolic Studio. The Optics Division is on a quest for the perfect indexical image, an image not just of the valley but made from the valley. The team has been working on all aspects of production including the camera(s), the film stock, the developers and fixatives, all sourced from the dry lake bed.

Bon and The Optics Division's tools include the "Liminal Camera," a portable camera and darkroom housed in a shipping container. The team can produce large black and white images matching the size of the container itself in a few hours.

The special explores other tools that have been developed by the Optics Division including the "Silo Camera" located in a one hundred foot silo on the edge of the Owens Dry Lake Bed and Mine Camera. The rig is being used to see the mine shaft, unused for nearly 100 years, that provided the silver for the pioneering film industry.

More about the "AgH2O" project and the 100th anniversary of the Los Angeles Aqueduct:

AgH2O: Silver, Water, and Pinhole Camera in a Silo
Lauren Bon's "Liminal Camera," comprised of a repurposed shipping container mounted on the back of a truck, captures the dessicated Owens Lake in large-scale photographs.

Liminal Elements: A Shipping Container Becomes a Camera Obscura
The "Liminal Camera," housed in a traveling shipping container, is both a one-of-a-kind camera and serves as its own photo processing center and storage facility.

De-silvering the Mirror: Mining for Film in the Owens Valley
It is a little-known fact that some of the silver and chemicals to produce the films that made Hollywood the global center of the movie industry were extracted from the Owens Valley.

One Hundred Mules: Tracing L.A. Aqueduct with Lauren Bon
Lone Pine film historian Christopher Langley discusses working with Lauren Bon and the Metabolic Studio on the project AgH20.

Water, Pipeline, and 100 Mules
Lauren Bon and the Metabolic Studio will perform "One Hundred Mules Walking the Los Angeles Aqueduct," a commemorative artist action to connect Los Angeles to its water supply.

There It Is. Take It: 100 Years of the Los Angeles Aqueduct
William Mulholland gave L.A. water and a motto to live by. David Ulin ruminates on the lifeblood of California.

AgH20 is a 240-mile work that aims at reconnecting Los Angeles with the elements that made it viable historically: silver and water, both mined from the mountains of the Owens Valley.

Dig this story? Sign up for our newsletter to get unique arts & culture stories and videos from across Southern California in your inbox. Also, follow Artbound on FacebookTwitter, and Youtube.

Support Provided By
Read More
A man in a suit with his hands behind his back looks on to a digital art piece on a large LED screen mounted on a black gallery wall. The digital art piece features a large red dot resembling a setting sun with floating white "icebergs" on a black water surface.

2022 L.A. Art Show Looks to the Future with NFTs and the Environment

Questions around the rise of NFT-backed art and the looming threat of climate change are big themes that permeate the 2022 L.A. Art Show which runs from Jan. 19 to Jan. 23.
Four members of Weapons of Mass Creation pose for a photo, lit in golden hues by a setting sun. The member on the far left is Enrique. He is wearing a navy blue cap with a skull on it. He is dark-skinned and has a beard. To Enrique's right is Josh who is wearing a woven brown and cream bucket hat over his dreads. He is also dark-skinned and has a beard. To Josh's right is Julia who has long black hair and is wearing a crushed velvet orange zip up hoodie. She is looking directly at the camera. To Julia's right is Moses who is wearing a black jacket and rose-colored sunglasses. His hand is up to his brow, shading his eyes from the sun.

How Anaheim-Born Hip Hop Group Weapons of Mass Creation Started the Revolution at Home

Born and raised in Anaheim, WOMC is a form of resistance among the mass-produced world of music. Their collective talent oozes originality and intent; their lyrics amplify the Anaheim communities they grew up in and tell stories of police brutality, generational trauma and misogyny.
A colorful topographic geography map of the Amargosa Chaos.

Two Death Valley Geologists Mapped Chaos. What Their Work Taught Us About Life.

Late geologists Bennie Troxel and Lauren Wright's signature accomplishment was their mapping of the Amargosa Chaos in 1984. But perhaps what will resonate the most is the mentorship they've given to young geologists and how their imprint will carry on generations after.