Artist duo Jonah Freeman and Justin Lowe toy with real-world history and culture to create fictional yet weirdly believable immersive environments through their site specific installations. For their most recent project “Bright White Underground,” Freeman and Lowe imagined the Buck House, Rudolf Schindler’s architectural landmark which is situated a few blocks from the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, as a sort of LSD safe house of the variety that the C.I.A. maintained when covertly testing the hallucinogenic substance in the 1950s. In Freeman and Lowe’s constructed narrative, Marasa, a drug modeled after LSD, was being developed by a certain Dr. Arthur Cook through the Vortice Institute, his psychoanalytic practice. Marasa, Haitian for the sacred twins of voodoo, alludes to the doubling effect of their novel hallucinogen: being high on the drug resulted in seeing your alter ego.
Bright White Underground builds upon the artists’ dimensional narrative universe, which involves a wide variety of social and historical environments such as secret uptown societies, clandestine meth labs, and abandoned hippie communes, among others. The themes central to their work are specifically alchemy in a modern context and community, ritual and psychosis.
Bright White Underground is a direct evolution of the artists’ previous installations Hello Meth Lab In The Sun, 2008, commissioned by Ballroom Marfa, Hello Meth Lab With A View, 2008 installed as part of The Station in Miami, FL curated by Shamim M. Momin and Nate Lowman and produced by Eleanor Cayre and the previous chapter, Black Acid Co-op, 2009, at Deitch Projects in NYC. Hello Meth Lab in the Sun was a vast and labyrinthine installation that wove the aftermath of meth addiction into a chaotic architectural fantasy including a kitchen decimated by fire, a walk-in terrarium, a yoga loft wallpapered with cutouts of extreme gore from Fangoria magazine and a fully loaded meth lab.
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