Headlands Center for the Arts

Rindon Johnson

Germany | visual
Artist in Residence Program 2020

Artist Statement

My work is couched first in language: in the ways that language fails us, contradicts us, and empowers us. My physical and virtual inquiries dive into the porous nature of what we call language using many mediums and materials. Most often these mediums and materials are: cow (leather), poetry, vaseline, sculpture, indigo, video, vinegar, virtual reality, and the passing of time. Ultimately, my materials, their provenance, and our mediated time together create virtual spaces while reflecting within the impacts of globalization, capitalism, the climate, desire, and “new” technologies. The virtual spaces my work seeks to inhabit sit uncomfortably in seats that are as much participatory as they are critical.

While at Headlands

While at Headlands I’ll be working on two projects both attempting to explore and deepen our dialogue with our thick present. The first project is a series of sculptures and supports from the charred remnants of the trees, rocks, and other beings left to rot after the Nuns Fire. I hope to consider the cyclical nature of fire and the discord of my family’s attachment and habitation on Pomo land. What was lost and what has arrived now? The second project, Shores of Eden, is a centerless science fiction novel set in a quasi-utopian future Marin County. After a series of strikes and a climate deal which forced the end of greenhouse emissions and a complete reorganization of the planet’s capital accumulation systems, a young artist finds himself in possession of 400 acres and so continues a community’s journey to make art in a world with shifting systems of value.

Selected works, full titles

1. The stage is no place for the riot, ongoing; rawhide, dirt, water, dimensions variable; installation view, Searching the Sky for Rain, SculptureCenter, New York, 2019; © Rindon Johnson

2. Why, if it was so bad here, did he not go to another place to live? So it’s pretty big, it’s about twice the size of my fist, you can hear the bag is crunching as I turn it over, there’s not a single animal, no insect, nothing, it is so old it reflects back blue light, so on a very clear, cool day, it is hard to say where it is that the sun meets the sky. They brought me here, the boy replied., 2019; rawhide, dirt, water, 90 x 60 x 40 cm; installation view, Circumscribe, The Julia Stoschek Collection, Dusseldorf, Germany, 2019; Photo: Alwin Lay; © Rindon Johnson

3. Diana Said: / If you stop me / from cutting / your hair, / there is a sense / in which / you are / interfering. / * / But, since you are entitled / to determine / whether I cut your hair / or not, you do not / wrong me. / * / I make your trip to the store a waste. / * / I buy the last quart of milk / before you / get there., 2019; virtual reality work, 7:15, 4096 x 2160 pixels; animation: Pariah Interactive; photo: Alwin Lay; © Rindon Johnson

4. Meat Growers: A Love Story, 2019; virtual reality work, 13:42, 4096 x 2160 pixels; made possible by Rhizome and Tentacular; animation: Pariah Interactive; © Rindon Johnson

5. Leah and I were walking through the park once and I was telling her all about the cows and what they might mean sitting out there waiting for me to come back to look at them. We sat down on a bench overlooking where the lake ends by the boat house. It was just before when the street lights go on, the light was blue and sinking. We looked at the water pausing thinking between ourselves. The water was still and was an exact mirror of the sky. As we were thinking a great deal of ducks all descended from the sky, I would say 100, at least. The sky and the water blackened with them. They all landed on the water at nearly the exact same time. As though they were some sort of reflection of themselves descending into themselves. Or the All is one. Or this is such or such a thing. They have attached a particular word to an object or a fact and thereby consider themselves to have appropriated it. The women say they have reduced you to silence. The women say the language you speak poisons your tongue, lips. They say the language you speak is made up of words that are killing you. Whatever they have not laid hands on does not appear in the language you speak. This is apparent in the space they have not been able to fill with their words. These spaces can be found in the gaps: in the perfect circle, to imprison them and to overthrow., 2019; 35mm slides, dimensions variable; installation view, circumscribe, The Julia Stoschek Collection, Dusseldorf, Germany, 2019; photo: Alwin Lay; © Rindon Johnson

6. So it’s pretty big, it’s about twice the size of my fist, you can hear the bag is crunching as I turn it over, there’s not a single animal, no insect, nothing, it is so old it reflects back blue light, so on a very clear, cool day, it is hard to say where it is that the sun meets the sky., ongoing; rawhide, cotton rope, dimensions variable; courtesy AA|LA Gallery; © Rindon Johnson

Selected Works

Personal Website

http://www.rinjohnson.com/#/