Sungazing presents a suite of sculptural and photographic works by Deep Pool together with a live sound performance by Ulla Straus and Pontiac Streator. Gazing into the sun evokes simultaneous feelings of warmth and longing, danger and mysticism. Though now widely acknowledged to cause eye damage, sungazing has been practiced in a variety of alternative healing and spiritual contexts. Notably, sungazing or “sunning” was advocated as part of the failed “Bates Method” for vision improvement at the turn of the twentieth century. The works in Sungazing reverberate with the strangeness and simplicity of this practice, hinging on a shared desire for transformation and connection within self and community.
Deep Pool was born in 1997 in the small city of Ji’An, in the Jiangxi province of China; they were abandoned there as an infant by their mother, who they have never known. The moniker Deep Pool is a literal translation of their birth name, “Ji Tan,” highlighting how this sense of alienation from self and personal history forms the crux of their artistic practice. Working primarily with photography and print, Deep Pool often deploys visual clichés that belie a sense of paradoxical longing at the heart of their ongoing search for belonging.
The exhibition opens with [Lenny Edit], a live sound performance by Philadelphia-based duo Pontiac Streator and Ulla Straus. Through their recent releases Chat and 11 Items on the West Mineral label, Pontiac & Ulla spelunk the outer fringes of ambient music, inhabiting what is less a “fourth world” than a burbling mixture of all possible worlds. Their fluid collaboration evokes, in the words of the artists, “the sense of hopefulness, friends in a cabin, or a delicate psycho,” blending woozy electronics with twisted samples and live instrumentation. Ultimately, Pontiac Streator & Ulla Straus’ work holds intimacy and anxiety in the same tender palm. With [Lenny Edit], they present a new suite of material to kick off their Fall 2019 tour, i want my rewards. This performance will also be livestreamed on the @officespace2 instagram account.