Thursday, Apr 25, 2013 - 2:16 pm

San Diego, CA—The Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego (MCASD) will present Approximately Infinite Universe at its La Jolla location from June 8 through September 1, 2013.

Approximately Infinite Universe is an exhibition inspired by science fiction, with its exploration of other possible worlds, its dislocation of spatial and temporal trajectories, and its challenges to distinctions between human and alien, self and other. The works in this exhibition take the form of contemporary artistic thought experiments, exploring ideas surrounding utopia and dystopia, bodily mutations, disorientation and weightlessness, reproductive technologies, cities of the future, Afro-futurism, and meta-histories, among others.

Organized by Associate Curator Jill Dawsey, Ph.D., this innovative survey of work connects a spectrum of seventeen artists and artist collectives from Berlin, Chicago, Copenhagen, London, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, and San Diego. Including large-scale sculptures, paintings, drawings, photographs, and film and video, the exhibition features works created in the last five years, with a few exceptions included as precedents.

Recently, allusions to space travel and depictions of the cosmos have appeared with increasing frequency in contemporary art, occasioned, perhaps, by the dissolution of the American space program and the privatization of space travel. Rather than simply referencing the motifs and rhetoric of space travel, the artists in Approximately Infinite Universe employ ideas and metaphors associated with experimental science fiction (such as that of writers Ursula K. LeGuin, Octavia E. Bulter, and Samuel R. Delany) as well as more popular versions of the genre (Star Trek), to rethink cultural categories, imagine new and different sets of social and sexual relations, and to create alternative realities in which historical and fictional figures interact.  

Artists in Approximately Infinite Universe include Edgar Arceneaux, Andrea Bowers, Matthew Buckingham, Luke Butler, Victoria Fu, Chitra Ganesh, Desirée Holman, Emre Hüner, Ann Lislegaard, Simone Leigh, Yoko Ono, the Otolith Group, Jacolby Satterwhite, Amie Siegel, Cauleen Smith, Kara Tanaka, and Saya Woolfalk.

The title of the exhibition originates with a 1973 record album by Yoko Ono, whose video installation Sky TV of 1966 is featured in the exhibition, transmitting views of the sky into the gallery via a live feed camera.  This witty evocation of the cosmos–-framing the sky on a small screen—sets a tone for the exhibition, which mingles playful and serious treatments of aliens, cities of the future, fictionalized histories, and speculations about space. Ono is also invoked in Andrea Bowers’sMemento of Infinite Space (2002), which incorporates a photorealistic rendering of Ono’s Approximately Infinite Universe album cover. Bowers’s drawing suggests an underlying premise of the exhibition, which understands art as a potential vehicle for time travel. Just as Bowers uses her pencil to revisit past cultural and political moments, other artists in the exhibition employ an array of mediums as means to travel backward and forward through time, re-visioning fraught histories and en-visioning utopian futures, with the effect of gaining insight into the complicated present.

Approximately Infinite Universe is organized by the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego and is made possible by a generous gift from the Cochrane Exhibition Fund. Institutional support for MCASD is provided, in part, by the City of San Diego Commission for Arts and Culture.

Scheduled programs and events held in conjunction with the exhibition include:


Members’ Opening

Friday, June 7 > 7-9 PM

Enjoy tours, cocktails, and be the first to see works featured in Approximately Infinite Universe before it opens to the public.


An Artist’s Perspective

Saturday, June 8 > 1-3 PM

On the day the exhibition opens to the public, three of the featured artists will speak about their practice at a panel moderated by the exhibition’s curator, Jill Dawsey. Get your tickets online at Featured speakers include:


Edgar Arceneaux

Los Angeles artist Edgar Arceneaux’s recent works explore Detroit as a ruinous cityscape from the future.  His drawings further reference the underground techno music of Drexciya, who in the 1990s created a mythology about an underwater civilization in the great lakes of Michigan, descended from slaves thrown overboard during The Middle Passage from Africa to the U.S.


Victoria Fu

San Diego-based artist Victoria Fu’s films explore parallel realities and alternate universes, nodding to science fiction films of the past and cinema of the 1970s more broadly.  Shot at Arcosanti, the failed experimental town in Arizona, her film Portmanteau presents a lone figure wandering the deserted spaces of what was once a possible utopia.


Saya Woolfalk

Brooklyn-based Saya Woolfalk’s multi-media project The Empathics invents an elaborate mythology surrounding a group of women who come upon a burial site that prompts visions and eventually transforms the women into hybridized beings that are part-plant, part-animal.


Shore Thing

Thursday Evenings from June 13 through August 29 > 5-8 PM

A variety of activities will be offered at MCASD La Jolla on Thursday nights this summer. In addition to being able to visit the Museum late into the evening, guest will also enjoy film screenings, food trucks, music, and tours in the galleries.


Film > La Jetée (1962) by Chris Marker

Thursday, July 11 > 6:15 PM


Film > Sans Soleil (1983) by Chris Marker

Thursday, August 8 > 6:15 PM




Founded in 1941, the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego (MCASD) is the preeminent contemporary visual arts institution in San Diego County. The Museum’s collection includes more than 4,000 works of art created since 1950. In addition to presenting exhibitions by international contemporary artists, the Museum serves thousands of children and adults annually at its varied education programs, and offers a rich program of film, performance, and lectures. MCASD is a private, nonprofit organization, with 501c3 tax-exempt status; it is supported by generous contributions and grants from MCASD Members and other individuals, corporations, foundations, and government agencies. Dr. Hugh M. Davies is The David C. Copley Director and CEO at MCASD.


Institutional support for MCASD is provided by the City of San Diego Commission for Arts and Culture and the James Irvine Foundation.



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