Rebeca Méndez, presents Any-Instant-Whatever, a multimedia experience depicting a contemplation of a day in Los Angeles that captures a cloud-rich sky above the lively city and its inhabitants. According to Méndez, the sky and the sun in Los Angeles are both great unifying forces, infusing a certain relaxed Southern Californian style in its people, as well as equalizers, whose light and warmth caress everyone. People in Los Angeles from all walks of life experience the same sky—something we all have in common.
Any-Instant-Whatever documents the sky of Los Angeles during winter 2019-2020 from dawn to dusk. Winter days are precious to Angelinos, as it’s when they receive most of their much-needed rainfall and the city comes to life in the aroma and colors of spring. The video installation depicts one day in early January when the typically blue skies are scattered with clouds—from the low, puffy layers of the ‘Stratocumulus Clouds,’ to the layers of bread rolls of the ‘Altocumullus Clouds,’ the regularly spaced cloudlets, often rippled ‘Cirrocumulus Clouds,’ and the delicate cloud streaks of the ‘Cirrus Clouds.’ All of these cloud formations and more may be present in one single day in Los Angeles. A Los Angeles cloud-rich sky is a reminder of the value of water, as well highlights the good fortune of living on a land enriched by sheer eternal sunshine.
A homage to philosopher Henri-Louis Bergson, whose ideas around duration and time-space have inspired Méndez’s work for decades, Any-Instant-Whatever can be understood as a ‘sensate’ or emotional timepiece, serving as a peaceful respite in our busy day, inspiring us to bring together our mind and body as we experience, if just for a moment, the fullness of time expressed in the sky above us. The artwork also investigates aspects of color perception. Since blue light is at the short wavelength end of the visible spectrum, it is more strongly scattered in the atmosphere than long wavelength red light. The result is that the human eye perceives blue when looking toward parts of the sky other than the sun.
Rebeca Méndez is an artist, designer, and chair of the Design Media Arts department at UCLA, where she is also director of the CounterForce Lab. Her research and practice investigate design and media art in public spaces, critical approaches to public identities and landscape, and artistic projects based on field investigation methods. In addition to her many great permanent public commissions, including two for the Metro Art Crenshaw/LAX project and three for the Los Angeles County Arts Commission, Méndez’s work is represented in numerous public and private collections. Among them are Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Nevada Museum of Art, the Museum of Contemporary Art of Oaxaca in Mexico, the El Paso Museum of Art, and Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum. From 2017 through 2019 she served as selecting committee member for the “Pritzker Emerging Environmental Genius Award.”
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