Critics’ Picks

View of “Kristin Lucas,” 2017–2018.

View of “Kristin Lucas,” 2017–2018.

Los Angeles

Kristin Lucas

And/Or Gallery
980 S Arroyo Pkwy #200
November 18, 2017–February 24, 2018

Kristin Lucas’s Sole Soaker, 2015, begins at the base of an impossibly tall staircase. For this video game, a gallery visitor can become a player by picking up a nearby Xbox controller. Ascending the stairs gives one a sense of the landscape; at the edge of a lush and verdant peninsula is a blacktop parking lot, bound on two sides by water. In the distance is a blue car. At sixty meters above sea level a chime sounds and a disembodied feminine robotic voice confirms your progress. Things change quickly as the waters begin to rise, quickly engulfing the landscape, and finally cresting at the tops of scattered trees.

The artist’s interactive work is less a cybernetic cri de coeur than a confirmation of what we already know to be true. This is the world in ecological collapse—a tidal reclaiming. Sole Soaker is an unsettling centerpiece in an exhibition that otherwise uses the figure of the flamingo as a visual symbol to explore everything from human sociality to the history of recent imaging technologies, integrating lasers, as in Greater Flamingo, Marching No. 2, as well as augmented reality, as in Flamingos, Flocking, both 2017. Kitschy, gorgeous, and enigmatic, for this body of work Lucas sees flamingos everywhere, perhaps precisely because they are becoming evermore vulnerable to the consequences of climate change. This is a well-researched and playful flamboyance of works that, when taken together, gesture toward the deceptively simple yet deliciously complex insight made by anthropologist Anna Tsing that “human nature is an interspecies relationship.” Let the choir sing and honk their affirmations.