Critics’ Picks

Guthrie Lonergan, 9 Short Music Videos, 2006, digital video, color, sound, 1 minute.

Los Angeles

Guthrie Lonergan

Honor Fraser
2622 S. La Cienega Blvd.
November 5–December 16

In a clip from Guthrie Lonergan’s Bugs in Screens Playlist, 2006, a YouTube user drags spastic rectangles around an ant. The pixilated fleck of the cursor, like the speck-size animal, seems literally trapped between real and virtual space. This, and nearly every other work in a show titled “2006,” can be seen on the artist’s website (theageofmammals.com), which makes the content of the present installation somewhat redundant (the gallery checklist awkwardly lists the duration of most works as “infinite”). A wall-mounted row of identical Dell 5:4 monitors, trailing headphones and cords, displays a dozen videos and websites, framing them with nostalgia for the days of MySpace and Halo 2. The exhibition seems to be selling the past; the works, however, were simply made in it—between 2005 and 2007.

The found-photo slideshow Domain, 2006, shuffles through proud gamers’ photos of their office-toned prefab workstations, where piled-up consoles, controllers, PCs, and DVDs obscure posters of Legend of Zelda’s Link and Halo’s Master Chief. Inside this unimpressive clutter, of course, lies the world-making potential of the gaming apparatus. Lonergan’s sound track, a dissonant and minor MIDI ditty, helps strike a balance between irony and homage, even as—the title’s pun—a flyover of a now laughably crude digital map fades into view. In 9 Short Music Videos, 2005, one of the only pieces made from scratch, the artist stages what he otherwise collects: the warm little material catastrophes of the Net. A line of Macs in a computer lab shifts to screensaver in a cascade, and an opening CD tray bumps another closed. A mechanical routine becomes an image, stuck on loop, one hopes forever.