High Desert Test Sites and Monte Vista Projects Present: Spectacular Subdivision (2014)

The Shack screened at Spectacular Subdivision presented by High Desert Test Sites and Monte Vista Projects 

Curator: Jay Lizo

For Spectacular Subdivision (see more info below) I screened a single channel non-fiction animated short title The Shack about the history of shacks, shantytowns and housing settlements built throughout New York during historic periods of severe income inequality not unlike our current moment. The animation frames this history by way of The Winter Shack, a temporary exhibition/performance space built from the cast-off remains of found wooden pallets in a backyard in Bed Stuy, Brooklyn. Encouraged by the architecture of The Winter Shack and an exceptionally brutal winter, The Winter Shack brought artists and writers together for performative readings, installations, and happenings during the first three months of 2014. The improvised architecture and adaptive reuse of The Shack stands as a optimistic reminder of the possibilities of making something out of nothing.

Stills from The Shack:

The Shack 1

The Shack 4

Shack 2

KCET Artsbound review by Kim Stringfellow:


High Desert Test Sites and Monte Vista Projects present Spectacular Subdivision, a group project curated by Jay Lizo. This three-day exhibition invites artists to reflect on questions of housing and real estate in the aftermath of the 2008 housing market crisis. What does housing mean to artists in relation to their practice? How has the mortgage meltdown affected artists? How have forms of domesticity and shelter shaped artists’ practices?

Spectacular Subdivision stems from the many conversations Jay had with other artists about purchasing a home. These conversations, ranging from the various types of paints used for interiors, to how to expand a house to incorporate a studio, and how to find balance between a living and working space, were simultaneously banal and fantastical. The project both engages and mimics the logic of real estate development as it has played out in the years since settlement began on the edges of habitable space across the Californian desert, e.g. California City in Kern County and Salton City, the failed resort adjacent to the Salton Sea in the Imperial Valley. The call invites participating artists to explore their personal fantasies in tandem with that (il)logic.

The project takes place over one weekend at two sites in Wonder Valley, California, on the fringes of the high desert. Large-scale sculptures are installed in a cul-de-sac formation at the remote, undeveloped Iron Age Road parcel. Additional works are on view at El Paseo Ranch, a rental cabin owned by the Sibley Family.

Participating artists include: Matt Allison, Katie Allison, Yuki Ando, Nicole Antebi, Annette Barz, Lara Bank, Allison Danielle Behrstock, James Cathey, Frank Chang, Chelsea Dean, Michael Dodge, Rebecca Bennett Duke, Ken Ehrlich, Patrick Gilbert, Joe Goode, Jenalee Harmon, Anastasia Hill, Dick Hebdige, Oliver Hess, Oree Holban, Olga Koumoundouros, Norm Laich, Jay Lizo, Candice Lin, Clare Little, Justin Lowman, Ben Lord, Nuttaphol Ma, Patrick Melroy, Anna Mayer, Megan Mueller, Ruchama Noorda, Noah Peffer, Nikki Pressley, Ben Pruskin, Nate Page, Carl Pomposelli, Colin Roberts, Marco Rios, Sam Scharf, Ryan Taber, Emily Thomas, Matthew Usinowicz, Jesse Wilson, and Kim Yasuda.

About Monte Vista Projects:
Monte Vista Projects is an artist-run space in the Highland Park area of Los Angeles. Since July 2007, Monte Vista Projects has hosted exhibitions, lectures, events, and performances. The space is self-determining—there is no “manifesto”—but the general aim is to provide a platform for art and conversation in Los Angeles, emphasizing experimentation and artworks that contribute to non-traditional dialogues.

Dream Propulsion (Laboratory) (2013)

Dream Propulsion (Laboratory) 2013 Animation by Nicole Antebi, Music by Laura Ortman

“Submerged!” has appeared in Long Island City, Brooklyn, Budapest, Thailand and Los Angeles.

More Info at:

Repurposing imagery from the Brooklyn based Reanimation Library, the animation hones in on the domestic space of “Roger’s Dream,” a short story by Leo Kuelbs, by drawing from and expanding on the fantasy of a connubial space ship. The interior elements are centered around the television set as a widescreen window into some version of the cosmos, depending on the channel.

Dream Propulsion_Antebi_3 Dream Propulsion_Antebi_2 Dream Propulsion_Antebi_1 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Digital Macrame to be projected on the Manhattan Bridge Anchorage (2013)

In 2012, I designed a visual score/animation comparing rival pitches 432 Hz and 440 Hz part of a multimedia presentation, titled “Pitch Battles” at Machine Project in Los Angeles and California State University in Monterey Bay.  The animation, titled “Digital Macrame” will be projected on the Manhattan Bridge Anchorage in conjunction with “DUMBO Glow” this Thursday December 19th and Friday the 20th from 5-9pm and curated by Leo Kuelbs and John Ensor Parker.  The animation is set to Wagner’s Das Rheingold Act 1: Prelude and pitch-altered by Chris Kallmyer.

432 and 440 Cymatic Animation

DUMBOGlow Press Release

More about the original multi-media performance:

In overlapping performances, Colin Dickey, Nicole Antebi and Chris Kallmyer will explore the difference between two rival pitches, 440 Hz and 432 Hz: Colin Dickey will trace the history of the war for correct musical tuning, a debate that’s raged for two centuries and has involved the Nazis, French government, BBC, Lyndon Larouche, and new age practitioners. Responding to the phenomenon of radial pattern formation by sound frequencies or Cymatics, Nicole Antebi will accompany the talk and performance with a video tinkering with the shape of sound. Additionally, Chris Kallmyer will accompany the talk sonically, creating an multi-channel environment of competing tonal systems and real-time examples of pitch-altered recordings of Wagner, sine tones, and live instruments.

Colin Dickey’s essay “Pitch Battles” from the January 2013 issue of The Believer: http://www.believermag.com/issues/201301/?read=article_dickey

The Eucalypt (2013)

The Eucalypt

Using archival Weather Bureau footage of cloud formations, and stop motion along with hand drawn elements, this short animation tells a brief history of the nineteenth century introduction of the Australian Eucalyptus tree to California. The Eucalypt was thought to be messianic with promises of improved weather, a renewed lumber industry, fever-reducing properties and iconic beauty second only to the great Redwood. The Eucalyptus would fail to meet nearly every demand placed upon it and in the twentieth century, Californians would grow to despise the tree and think of it merely as the world’s largest and messiest weed.

Premiered at Teeny-Cine at Verge Center for the Arts, Sacramento


The following authors/essays factored largely in my research and inspired the project:

Jared Farmer Gone Native

D.J. Waldie The Many and Contradictory Meanings of Southern California’s Iconic Eucalyptus Trees

Nathan Masters Who Eucalyptized California

IMG_7625 IMG_7626 IMG_7627 IMG_7628

Don’t Put Nothin In It Unless You Feel It, revisited

Summercamp Weed Patch1 Weedpatch3house

In 2009, the weekend of the Station Fire (one of the largest and deadliest California wildfires on record), Summercamp Project Project invited me to participate in “Go Big or Go Home.” At the time Janice Gomez was clearing the brush from the backyard of their El Sereno house/art space. I used the brush to make these nest chairs and removed a section of their yard recreating Darwin’s 2×3′ weed garden. At the opening, Amaranth Borsuk, Kate Durbin, Clay Chaplin, Aaron Drake, and Lewis Keller graciously performed for the weeds, attempting to charm them into visibility through poetry and music. Amaranth (who beckoned the weeds with notes of their taxonomical brethren) recently published her notes for the performance in this recent issue of Pocket Notes: http://www.pocketnotes.org/ Although the weeds never made an appearance (I blame the harsh conditions created by the fires), these folks made it a really excellent day.

Folly Gardens (2013)

Folly Gardens (2013)

Nicole Antebi: Director, writer, animator

Music by David Eng

Premiered at Betalevel, Los Angeles, CA

Folly Gardens is an animated essay about the Sunol and Pulgas water temples of Northern California and the role they played in the Hetch Hetchy water wars, with live music by David Eng and the whispered voices of John Muir and James D. Phelan read by Paul Antebi. 

Selection of animation stills:

folly gardens stillFolly Gardens Folly Gardens Sunol Temple

In his 15th century novel, Las Sergas de Esplandian, Spanish author, Garci Rodriguez de Montalvo gave shape to the myth of California, an island inhabited by beautiful black warriors and ruled by the Amazonian queen, Calafia, who led an arsenal of griffins ready to do her bidding. Today two stone statues flank the entrance to former San Francisco mayor, James D. Phelan’s palatial estate located in Saratoga, CA, best known today as the Montalvo Arts Center. Phelan was responsible for obtaining Tuolumne River water rights, which ultimately led to the damming of Hetch Hetchy Valley. Folly Gardens is an animated essay about the Sunol and Pulgas water temples of Northern California and the role they played in the Hetch Hetchy water wars, with live music by David Eng and the whispered voices of John Muir and James D. Phelan read by Paul Antebi.

Bumper stickers for Los Angeles Road Concerts: Mulholland Dérive edition

bumper sticker
Putting “Mulholland,” the water-poaching dude, back in Mulholland drive.  Bumper stickers for Los Angeles Road Concerts: Mulholland Dérive edition 12-6 this Sunday on the fabled Mulholland Drive.

For more background on William Mulholland and the Uisce Trail, see my short animated biography entitled Uisce Beathahttps://vimeo.com/49805393

Uisce Beatha which translates from Gaelic to Water of Life, is a short animated film about William Mulholland. The story suggests that Mulholland may in fact be, Uisce, the man, horse, bird, trickster of Irish Mythology. Spelled U-I-S-C-E. Uisce sometimes appears as a handsome Highland water-horse, perpetually searching for inland bodies of still water and attracting unsuspecting riders. When Uisce finally does find a rider, they will find themselves affixed to Uisce’s adhesive skin as he runs headlong into the nearest body of water until Uisce completely submerges the rider, leaving only a liver to wash up on the shore.

Photo by Bianca D’Amico

Right: Uisce Beatha video diorama from “Drawing On The Psyche”

organized by Jay Lizo at Elephant Art Space September 2012