......................................................................................................................................................................................................................
On the Subject of Tests: Photographic Documentation, 2018

On the Subject of Tests: Photographic Documentation, 2018

On the Subject of Tests: Photographic Documentation takes the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children (WISC) as its subject. From the manual*: “This test consists of a series of pictures which, when placed in the right sequence, tell a little story. The picture series are not unlike the short comic strips to be found in the daily papers.” These drawings were culled by the test’s designers from the disparate sources of the New Yorker magazine and the Army Group Examinations and are meant to measure a subject’s “ability to comprehend and size up a total situation.”

*Wechsler, David. The Measurement of Adult Intelligence. Baltimore: Williams & Wilkins Comp., 1944.

Effecting a Split, 2018

Effecting a Split, 2018

Effecting a Split is a two-channel video installation wherein an isolated enactment of a scene from Robert Louis Stevenson’s The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is paired with “The Transported Man,” a staged magic trick that requires two identical actors to perform the illusion. Taken together, the film portrays a rehearsal of the dissolution of subject. An actor repeats acts of self-negation as both Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde and as the magician, coming back to life over and over, as if replicating the psychoanalytic example of the Fort-Da game. In drinking the liquid, Dr. Jekyll attempts a self-negation, only to come back into being as Mr. Hyde. The magician, in contrast, inhabits two bodies, which perform an illusion while moving between the shadowy underside of the stage and the lit stage-top. In its form, the film ruptures a viewing experience via de-centering repetition and non-analogous takes, and ultimately reveals the viewer as the subject of the work. Effecting a Split requires a reflexive gaze onto a notion of the self, looking to psychoanalysis and cognitive sciences for schematics and language that reveal potentially dangerous coping mechanisms such as projection, splitting, and othering. The work aims to illuminate what is hidden behind a psychological blind spot, the kind that disallows sight of one’s own unconscious coping mechanisms.

Effecting a Split (excerpt), 2018; video installation

Effecting a Split borrows the transformation of Dr. Jekyll into Mr. Hyde and places it against a staged magic illusion that requires identical actors to perform a transportation, representing a self that is divided first inwardly and then outwardly. My interests in misdirection and visual cognition come into the project as the two scenes are placed in tandem and projected adjacent to each other in non-analogous takes..

On Not Seeing: Black Box Theory, 2018

On Not Seeing: Black Box Theory, 2018

“On Not Seeing” is a set of sculptures, each based on an object whose function relies on what is seen and what is hidden from view. These objects are produced out of scale and are rendered in materials that destabilize their functions. Through this process-led intervention, I reveal the inner workings of the objects and, therefore, render them inoperative—transforming the objects into inert subjects of inquiry. “Black Box Theory” is modeled off of a theoretical diagram utilized in Behaviorism. Black Box Theory postulates that the mind is unknowable, therefore the only way to study the mind is to observe responses to stimuli. All that can be studied is what can be directly seen, the input and output, but not the mechanism that produces the result.

On Not Seeing: Magic Ball and Vase

On Not Seeing: Magic Ball and Vase

“The Magic Ball & Vase” is based upon a mass-produced magic trick. The trick purports to make a ball disappear from within a vase with a lid. The supposed disappearance is not performed sleight of hand, but instead part of the object itself. I have reproduced this object in cast aluminum at 16-inches high instead of 2-inches high, and displayed the interior workings of the apparatus resulting in a deconstructed set of forms.

7 Stages, 2017

7 Stages, 2017

“7 Stages” is comprised of seven plaster sculptures corresponding to the phases of sexuality as outlined by Freud (Oral Aggressive, Oral Passive, Anal Retentive, Anal Expulsive, Phallic, Latent, and Genital). Freud argued that a “lack” in proper nurturing during the early stages of sexuality would manifest in adult personalities as fixation or sexual deviance. I used these developmental stages as a blueprint in predetermining the forms of the sculptural works. In reference to the developmental nature of Freud’s stages the seven sculptures are exhibited as positive mold armatures which would normally be only the first step in the process of producing finished sculptures—here, however, these provisional works become the final forms, acting as stand-ins or surrogates for the finished works.

In Stages (Excerpt), 2017; Video projection; 67 minutes 

In Stages is a 67-minute long single channel video depicting multiple clay vessels dissolving in water. With this work I aimed to highlight the materiality and physicality of the objects, filming and recording the forms in a constant state of transformation.

A Sequel To (Excerpt), 2017; Video
; 6:00 minutes

A Sequel To is a narrative film that utilizes Cotard’s syndrome, a delusion wherein those afflicted suffer the nihilistic delusion that they are dead or no longer exist, as a device examine psychoanalytic ideas around desire and projection. The project explors this dissociative state in relation to romantic love, decision making and fantasies, and postulates that this can be seen as a mirror to certain tactics used to gain power within relationships.

Three by Seven, 2017

Three by Seven, 2017

“Three by Seven” is a large ceramic chain made specifically for a closet space in an exhibition. An image of a chain became a stand in for the idea of contingency. The chain’s installation required reinforced hooks, while each link in the chain required the one next to it to hold its shape. The work was almost entirely out of view until passed under, leaving the viewer standing under the heavy object in the small room. Meant to resemble both a utilitarian net and a childrens’ climbing structure, it was rematerialized and recontextualized in the gallery.

Three by Seven, 2017

Three by Seven, 2017

“Three by Seven” is a large ceramic chain made specifically for a closet space in an exhibition. An image of a chain became a stand in for the idea of contingency. The chain’s installation required reinforced hooks, while each link in the chain required the one next to it to hold its shape. The work was almost entirely out of view until passed under, leaving the viewer standing under the heavy object in the small room. Meant to resemble both a utilitarian net and a childrens’ climbing structure, it was rematerialized and recontextualized in the gallery.

Hanging Chain, 2017; Ceramic; 10 feet high 

Hanging Chain, 2017; Ceramic; 10 feet high 

Hanging Chain is a fired clay chain suspended from an existing I-beam. With this work, the strength and industrial quality of a chain is rendered fragile and bodily through my choice of material. This confluence of seeming contradictions is meant to physically manifest as an anxious object, unstable in its material and meaning.

Two Ones & Three Twos, 2015; Ceramic, concrete, wood
; 16 x 14 x 18 inches; 14 x 18 x 16 inches 

Two Ones & Three Twos, 2015; Ceramic, concrete, wood
; 16 x 14 x 18 inches; 14 x 18 x 16 inches 

Two ones and Three Twos are part of a series of ceramic sculptures that address the body—specifically, these objects reference massage tools and were produced due to various lived aches and pains. I worked to make these objects both functional and absurd.

Two Ones & Three Twos, 2015; Ceramic, concrete, wood
; 16 x 14 x 18 inches; 14 x 18 x 16 inches 

Two Ones & Three Twos, 2015; Ceramic, concrete, wood
; 16 x 14 x 18 inches; 14 x 18 x 16 inches 

Two ones and Three Twos are part of a series of ceramic sculptures that address the body—specifically, these objects reference massage tools and were produced due to various lived aches and pains. I worked to make these objects both functional and absurd.

Conversations, 2014 (
In collaboration with Sam Kahn); Performance still; 
Roberts & Tilton, Los Angeles, CA 

Conversations, 2014 (
In collaboration with Sam Kahn); Performance still; 
Roberts & Tilton, Los Angeles, CA 

Using the traditional tools of theater, Conversations attempted to recreate a scene from memory—aiming to reenact memories of a relationship through writing, casting, rehearsing and directing. Neither constructed to perfectly replicate their original sources, nor to completely erase real-life qualities of a space, our sets and dialogues aimed to highlight the fallible and distorted qualities of memory.

Conversations, 2014 (
In collaboration with Sam Kahn); Performance still; 
Roberts & Tilton, Los Angeles, CA 

Conversations, 2014 (
In collaboration with Sam Kahn); Performance still; 
Roberts & Tilton, Los Angeles, CA 

Using the traditional tools of theater, Conversations attempted to recreate a scene from memory—aiming to reenact memories of a relationship through writing, casting, rehearsing and directing. Neither constructed to perfectly replicate their original sources, nor to completely erase real-life qualities of a space, our sets and dialogues aimed to highlight the fallible and distorted qualities of memory.

Conversations, 2014 ( In collaboration with Sam Kahn); Performance still; Roberts & Tilton, Los Angeles, CA

Conversations, 2014 ( In collaboration with Sam Kahn); Performance still; Roberts & Tilton, Los Angeles, CA

Using the traditional tools of theater, Conversations attempted to recreate a scene from memory—aiming to reenact memories of a relationship through writing, casting, rehearsing and directing. Neither constructed to perfectly replicate their original sources, nor to completely erase real-life qualities of a space, our sets and dialogues aimed to highlight the fallible and distorted qualities of memory.

Conversations, 2014 (
In collaboration with Sam Kahn); Performance still; 
Roberts & Tilton, Los Angeles, CA 

Conversations, 2014 (
In collaboration with Sam Kahn); Performance still; 
Roberts & Tilton, Los Angeles, CA 

Using the traditional tools of theater, Conversations attempted to recreate a scene from memory—aiming to reenact memories of a relationship through writing, casting, rehearsing and directing. Neither constructed to perfectly replicate their original sources, nor to completely erase real-life qualities of a space, our sets and dialogues aimed to highlight the fallible and distorted qualities of memory.

Sasha Bergstrom-Katz & Sam Kahn, Conversations: "Avocado Shaker," Machine Project, 2014

Sasha Bergstrom-Katz & Sam Kahn, Conversations: "Avocado Shaker," Machine Project, 2014

Sasha Bergstrom-Katz and Sam Kahn showcased three original works from their ongoing mixed-media collaboration Conversations. In three ninety-minute sessions the artists worked with theater actors in a state of rehearsal and revision to stage autobiographical scenes they wrote.

On the Subject of Tests: Photographic Documentation, 2018

On the Subject of Tests: Photographic Documentation takes the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children (WISC) as its subject. From the manual*: “This test consists of a series of pictures which, when placed in the right sequence, tell a little story. The picture series are not unlike the short comic strips to be found in the daily papers.” These drawings were culled by the test’s designers from the disparate sources of the New Yorker magazine and the Army Group Examinations and are meant to measure a subject’s “ability to comprehend and size up a total situation.”

*Wechsler, David. The Measurement of Adult Intelligence. Baltimore: Williams & Wilkins Comp., 1944.

Effecting a Split, 2018

Effecting a Split is a two-channel video installation wherein an isolated enactment of a scene from Robert Louis Stevenson’s The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is paired with “The Transported Man,” a staged magic trick that requires two identical actors to perform the illusion. Taken together, the film portrays a rehearsal of the dissolution of subject. An actor repeats acts of self-negation as both Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde and as the magician, coming back to life over and over, as if replicating the psychoanalytic example of the Fort-Da game. In drinking the liquid, Dr. Jekyll attempts a self-negation, only to come back into being as Mr. Hyde. The magician, in contrast, inhabits two bodies, which perform an illusion while moving between the shadowy underside of the stage and the lit stage-top. In its form, the film ruptures a viewing experience via de-centering repetition and non-analogous takes, and ultimately reveals the viewer as the subject of the work. Effecting a Split requires a reflexive gaze onto a notion of the self, looking to psychoanalysis and cognitive sciences for schematics and language that reveal potentially dangerous coping mechanisms such as projection, splitting, and othering. The work aims to illuminate what is hidden behind a psychological blind spot, the kind that disallows sight of one’s own unconscious coping mechanisms.

Effecting a Split (excerpt), 2018; video installation

Effecting a Split borrows the transformation of Dr. Jekyll into Mr. Hyde and places it against a staged magic illusion that requires identical actors to perform a transportation, representing a self that is divided first inwardly and then outwardly. My interests in misdirection and visual cognition come into the project as the two scenes are placed in tandem and projected adjacent to each other in non-analogous takes..

On Not Seeing: Black Box Theory, 2018

“On Not Seeing” is a set of sculptures, each based on an object whose function relies on what is seen and what is hidden from view. These objects are produced out of scale and are rendered in materials that destabilize their functions. Through this process-led intervention, I reveal the inner workings of the objects and, therefore, render them inoperative—transforming the objects into inert subjects of inquiry. “Black Box Theory” is modeled off of a theoretical diagram utilized in Behaviorism. Black Box Theory postulates that the mind is unknowable, therefore the only way to study the mind is to observe responses to stimuli. All that can be studied is what can be directly seen, the input and output, but not the mechanism that produces the result.

On Not Seeing: Magic Ball and Vase

“The Magic Ball & Vase” is based upon a mass-produced magic trick. The trick purports to make a ball disappear from within a vase with a lid. The supposed disappearance is not performed sleight of hand, but instead part of the object itself. I have reproduced this object in cast aluminum at 16-inches high instead of 2-inches high, and displayed the interior workings of the apparatus resulting in a deconstructed set of forms.

7 Stages, 2017

“7 Stages” is comprised of seven plaster sculptures corresponding to the phases of sexuality as outlined by Freud (Oral Aggressive, Oral Passive, Anal Retentive, Anal Expulsive, Phallic, Latent, and Genital). Freud argued that a “lack” in proper nurturing during the early stages of sexuality would manifest in adult personalities as fixation or sexual deviance. I used these developmental stages as a blueprint in predetermining the forms of the sculptural works. In reference to the developmental nature of Freud’s stages the seven sculptures are exhibited as positive mold armatures which would normally be only the first step in the process of producing finished sculptures—here, however, these provisional works become the final forms, acting as stand-ins or surrogates for the finished works.

In Stages (Excerpt), 2017; Video projection; 67 minutes 

In Stages is a 67-minute long single channel video depicting multiple clay vessels dissolving in water. With this work I aimed to highlight the materiality and physicality of the objects, filming and recording the forms in a constant state of transformation.

A Sequel To (Excerpt), 2017; Video
; 6:00 minutes

A Sequel To is a narrative film that utilizes Cotard’s syndrome, a delusion wherein those afflicted suffer the nihilistic delusion that they are dead or no longer exist, as a device examine psychoanalytic ideas around desire and projection. The project explors this dissociative state in relation to romantic love, decision making and fantasies, and postulates that this can be seen as a mirror to certain tactics used to gain power within relationships.

Three by Seven, 2017

“Three by Seven” is a large ceramic chain made specifically for a closet space in an exhibition. An image of a chain became a stand in for the idea of contingency. The chain’s installation required reinforced hooks, while each link in the chain required the one next to it to hold its shape. The work was almost entirely out of view until passed under, leaving the viewer standing under the heavy object in the small room. Meant to resemble both a utilitarian net and a childrens’ climbing structure, it was rematerialized and recontextualized in the gallery.

Three by Seven, 2017

“Three by Seven” is a large ceramic chain made specifically for a closet space in an exhibition. An image of a chain became a stand in for the idea of contingency. The chain’s installation required reinforced hooks, while each link in the chain required the one next to it to hold its shape. The work was almost entirely out of view until passed under, leaving the viewer standing under the heavy object in the small room. Meant to resemble both a utilitarian net and a childrens’ climbing structure, it was rematerialized and recontextualized in the gallery.

Hanging Chain, 2017; Ceramic; 10 feet high 

Hanging Chain is a fired clay chain suspended from an existing I-beam. With this work, the strength and industrial quality of a chain is rendered fragile and bodily through my choice of material. This confluence of seeming contradictions is meant to physically manifest as an anxious object, unstable in its material and meaning.

Two Ones & Three Twos, 2015; Ceramic, concrete, wood
; 16 x 14 x 18 inches; 14 x 18 x 16 inches 

Two ones and Three Twos are part of a series of ceramic sculptures that address the body—specifically, these objects reference massage tools and were produced due to various lived aches and pains. I worked to make these objects both functional and absurd.

Two Ones & Three Twos, 2015; Ceramic, concrete, wood
; 16 x 14 x 18 inches; 14 x 18 x 16 inches 

Two ones and Three Twos are part of a series of ceramic sculptures that address the body—specifically, these objects reference massage tools and were produced due to various lived aches and pains. I worked to make these objects both functional and absurd.

Conversations, 2014 (
In collaboration with Sam Kahn); Performance still; 
Roberts & Tilton, Los Angeles, CA 

Using the traditional tools of theater, Conversations attempted to recreate a scene from memory—aiming to reenact memories of a relationship through writing, casting, rehearsing and directing. Neither constructed to perfectly replicate their original sources, nor to completely erase real-life qualities of a space, our sets and dialogues aimed to highlight the fallible and distorted qualities of memory.

Conversations, 2014 (
In collaboration with Sam Kahn); Performance still; 
Roberts & Tilton, Los Angeles, CA 

Using the traditional tools of theater, Conversations attempted to recreate a scene from memory—aiming to reenact memories of a relationship through writing, casting, rehearsing and directing. Neither constructed to perfectly replicate their original sources, nor to completely erase real-life qualities of a space, our sets and dialogues aimed to highlight the fallible and distorted qualities of memory.

Conversations, 2014 ( In collaboration with Sam Kahn); Performance still; Roberts & Tilton, Los Angeles, CA

Using the traditional tools of theater, Conversations attempted to recreate a scene from memory—aiming to reenact memories of a relationship through writing, casting, rehearsing and directing. Neither constructed to perfectly replicate their original sources, nor to completely erase real-life qualities of a space, our sets and dialogues aimed to highlight the fallible and distorted qualities of memory.

Conversations, 2014 (
In collaboration with Sam Kahn); Performance still; 
Roberts & Tilton, Los Angeles, CA 

Using the traditional tools of theater, Conversations attempted to recreate a scene from memory—aiming to reenact memories of a relationship through writing, casting, rehearsing and directing. Neither constructed to perfectly replicate their original sources, nor to completely erase real-life qualities of a space, our sets and dialogues aimed to highlight the fallible and distorted qualities of memory.

Sasha Bergstrom-Katz & Sam Kahn, Conversations: "Avocado Shaker," Machine Project, 2014

Sasha Bergstrom-Katz and Sam Kahn showcased three original works from their ongoing mixed-media collaboration Conversations. In three ninety-minute sessions the artists worked with theater actors in a state of rehearsal and revision to stage autobiographical scenes they wrote.

On the Subject of Tests: Photographic Documentation, 2018
Effecting a Split, 2018
Effecting a Split (excerpt), 2018; video installation
On Not Seeing: Black Box Theory, 2018
On Not Seeing: Magic Ball and Vase
7 Stages, 2017
In Stages (Excerpt), 2017; Video projection; 67 minutes 
A Sequel To (Excerpt), 2017; Video
; 6:00 minutes
Three by Seven, 2017
Three by Seven, 2017
Hanging Chain, 2017; Ceramic; 10 feet high 
Two Ones & Three Twos, 2015; Ceramic, concrete, wood
; 16 x 14 x 18 inches; 14 x 18 x 16 inches 
Two Ones & Three Twos, 2015; Ceramic, concrete, wood
; 16 x 14 x 18 inches; 14 x 18 x 16 inches 
Conversations, 2014 (
In collaboration with Sam Kahn); Performance still; 
Roberts & Tilton, Los Angeles, CA 
Conversations, 2014 (
In collaboration with Sam Kahn); Performance still; 
Roberts & Tilton, Los Angeles, CA 
Conversations, 2014 ( In collaboration with Sam Kahn); Performance still; Roberts & Tilton, Los Angeles, CA
Conversations, 2014 (
In collaboration with Sam Kahn); Performance still; 
Roberts & Tilton, Los Angeles, CA 
Sasha Bergstrom-Katz & Sam Kahn, Conversations: "Avocado Shaker," Machine Project, 2014