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Nikhil Murthy's They Ship the Water In Everyday 2 & 3
Mar 1 - 31, 2016
The LA>< ART Video Billboards Platform
LAXART is pleased to present They Ship the Water in Everyday 2 & 3 a site specific video by Los Angeles based artist Nikhil Murthy. Murthy’s video billboard project examines how the city of Los Angeles presents dueling realities, one created and propagated by the Television and Film industry and the other created by residents of the city. Rather than resolving this duality, Murthy’s work attempts to understand how these realities exist side by side in a semi-permeable relationship with each other—a kind of cultural polarization, both exceedingly complex and all too frequently over-simplified. Murthy’s video further looks to Los Angeles as imagined existing on the border of paradise and apocalypse. By setting this trope within the banality of a Laundromat, They Ship the Water in Every Day lets the realities of Los Angeles compete with one another. At times the Adam and Eves and Apocalyptic Men seem oblivious to the customers, doing their best to play their roles. At other times they can’t help but make eye contact, acknowledging the membrane between the two realities. The customers break this wall as well, at times dismissive of the whole endeavor and at times confrontational. The space of the Laundromat itself also engages with both of these realities, framing the supposed conflict and at times exposing the very construction of the video. The investigation of dualities is a frequent point of interest in Murthy’s work, investigating whether competing forms are in actual conflict or as existing simultaneously side by side, pushing each other to adapt. For Murthy, the appearance of conflict may in fact conceal a larger dependence. Finally, the venue of the large video signage along the Sunset Strip amplifies the questions of cultural identity and mythology within Los Angeles. The specific intended location creates new dualities for the work: the relationship between the commercial and the aesthetic, and the out-of-place Hollywood tropes in the video re-inserted into a venue where they are expected or pre-existing.