January 10, 2014 – February 1, 2014
Opening Reception: Friday, January 10th, 6-9 pm
Field Trip to Morse Code Station, January 11th, 2013. Tickets and more information here.
Lecture by Andrew Shanken, Associate Professor of Architecture at UC Berkeley’s College of Environmental Design, January 23rd, 2014. More information here.
Adobe Books Backroom Gallery is pleased to present a two-person exhibition of works by Jessica Hankey and Erin Colleen Johnson, organized by Calcagno Cullen.
Erin Colleen Johnson and Jessica Hankey’s works examine the present through the vestiges of the past, investigating institutions and structures that are losing, or have already lost, their authority.
Over the past few years Johnson has worked with Morse Code operators in Marin County whose sea-side station was shut-down in 1999 when commercial Morse was officially taken off the air. In 2009, the operators re-opened the closed doors and started sending out messages, but this time there were few or no listeners to receive them. When asked why they continued, even when no ships were calling in, one operator observed, “Even if there were no ships out there, we’d be keeping the faith.” While the operators placed their faith in the practice of sending messages, Johnson was most concerned with who these communiques were for. For her first transmission of dots and dashes, which she captures in the 16mm film To Sea, she decided to send them directly to the ocean. The film captures the ocean’s response, intertwined with Johnson’s message which was typed out on Morse paper strips exactly the same width of 16mm film. At the Marin station Johnson sent messages out, but a recent move to Georgia afforded her the opportunity to engage the operators in a new way. In her most recent video, she attempts to contact the Marin County station from the basement of John Playford, a local Morse enthusiast. Here, Johnson asks what compels us as humans to do the work that often, seemingly, has little to no visible outcome and how we know if we’ve been heard.
Jessica Hankey’s ongoing project Women’s Club engages a hundred-year-old women’s organization in Los Angeles, CA as a site of production for varied activities that include public events, photography, and video. Founded in 1904, this club flourished in its early days as an instrument to expand women’s role in civil society but is today searching for its purpose. Hankey has been a member since 2009 and served on its board of directors in multiple capacities. On view at Adobe will be two new works in this series. In Women’s Club (4th VP), Hankey draws from the club’s archives and her own photographs to create an ahistorical collision of images through which patterns emerge: the club’s relationship with the armed forces, the role of performance and costume in the club’s activities, the dormancy and latent potential of the organization as a whole. Collaging images together within a given frame, these works create constellations of potential meaning yet underscore the limitations of what can be known from a photograph. Also on view will be the video work Women’s Club (I.S. & I.K.), composed of three single takes that show a craft group conspicuously avoiding eye contact with the panning camera while voice overs narrate what could be their thoughts.