Tonight the Echo Park art space and loose-knit creative collective Machine Project celebrates the release of The Platinum Collection, a retrospective compendium published by the Tang Museum and designed in collaboration with Kimberly Varella of Content Object. Befitting an entity that celebrates spontaneity over ceremony, the book release marks no particular anniversary. According to founder Mark Allen, “it’s coming out now because we just got it done!”
Since 2004, Machine Project has scouted unexpected intersections of various threads in art, science, sound, popular culture, gut biomes, and plant life. Its specialty is presenting technical or highbrow subject matter with an experimental sense of absurdist mischief and an emphasis on interactivity. That could entail a poetry delivery service, slime mold races, a lecture on apocalyptic themes in the music of Busta Rhymes, or a LARP based on the ideas of est and Landmark Forum guru Werner Erhardt.
“Our location on Alvarado Street serves multiple functions,” says Allen, “office, laboratory, cookie depository, workshop space, performance and lecture venue, and antechamber to our subterranean 17-seat theater.” The space bears the scars of Machine’s past experiments, including dormant puppets and unexplained holes in the floor, testaments to the group’s push-and-pull romance with physical space.
The storefront has survived sweeping gentrification as Machine has ventured outward, embracing other Los Angeles spaces such as LACMA. “In all our work, we are concerned with the specifics of site and context,” says Allen. “What can happen in a place, and how can art and performance allow an audience to see somewhere in a new way. This year we are focusing a lot of projects on Echo Park Lake, a meeting place for everyone in the neighborhood including the ducks and turtles.”
The Platinum Collection EXTRAVAGANZA takes place Thursday, March 30, at the Vista Theater in Los Feliz. Performances begin at 7:30 and admission is free.
– Emerson Dameron, A+D Press
– Photo Credit: machineproject.com