Back in 2013, Rick Silva invited me to make a project for the “W-E-S-T-E-R-N D-I-G-I-T-A-L” pavilion he was curating at The Wrong Biennale. “W-E-S-T-E-R-N D-I-G-I-T-A-L” being a pavilion featuring the work of west coast artists, I started thinking about what “west coast” means — and what “California” means. I decided to do something on the theme of Californias. I sent Rick the video and HTML links for the show at the time and did a news post about it here. But apparently I neglected to make “Googling Californias” a proper page on my site, which caused it to essentially drop off the face of the Internet after “The Wrong” ended. I just unearthed it again tonight. Thanks to Rick for inviting me to make something “wrong” on purpose!
Late at night, thoughts wander — and we find ourselves Googling Californias. Seems fitting — and all wrong: Google is itself the image of early 21st-century California technology, commerce, and power. It lives in California — and it doesn’t. The images Google offers up form a muddled patchwork of stereotypes and half-truths; but the awkward thing about half-truths is that they are half true. Like stereotypes of California itself: as awkwardly accurate as they are grotesque distortions. Sometimes you don’t find the California you were searching for. The system failed you — or you failed the system. Or maybe you weren’t looking for the right Californias. And as you travel between Californias, you remember, there’s yet another California beyond the borders of California. It doesn’t stop here. And it does.