Background Extinction

Background Extinction

Background Extinction is an exhibition of new and recent work by Los Angeles artist Mungo Thomson. Mungo Thomson’s work addresses everyday cultural and material production through a lens of deep time and cosmic scale. In this exhibition, he presents new Wall Calendar lightboxes and selections from his series The Windham-Hill Works.

Thomson's new lightbox works display calendar pages as if held up to the sun, allowing the reverse side of the page to show through. The images on the front and back of the page are collaged together with light – a calendar graphic with a photograph of a mountain, the grid of a single month embedded in an image of geological time. These images are printed on either side of a single piece of fabric and stretched over a custom LED light box at an immersive scale. These works consider geochronology from a precarious contemporary vantage, using everyday, art-adjacent materials that already hang on the wall. Like Thomson’s earliest wind chime works, the lightboxes pair evocations of elevated consciousness and spiritual pilgrimage with pragmatic home decor.

The Windham-Hill Works is a series of turntables with modified motors that play albums released by the 1980s/90s New Age record label Windham-Hill. Windham-Hill released precision-engineered instrumental music in the tradition of Erik Satie’s 1917 “Furniture Music“ – music composed to play in the background. Many Windham-Hill artists, particularly its star George Winston, sought thematic inspiration from the passage of time itself and titled their songs and albums for the months and seasons. Thomson’s modified turntables alter the play of Windham-Hill records so that their nearly undetectable revolutions summon the turning of the earth: Winston’s December takes 31 days to play, William Ackerman’s It Takes a Year takes 365 days, and so on.

Background Extinction

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