This Synthetic Moment (Replicant): Curated by David Hartt

13 July - 24 August 2019

Philip Martin Gallery is pleased to present an exhibition curated by David Hartt.

Lewis Baltz, Kwame Brathwaite, Lynne Cohen, Andrew Esiebo, Rick Farin and Chino Amobi, David Hartt, Joanne Petit-Frère, Gabriella Torres-Ferrer, Wilmer Wilson IV and Christopher Wool. There will be an opening reception Saturday, July 13 from 6-8pm. The opening reception will be followed by a conversation between David Hartt and musician, songwriter and producer Van Dyke Parks at 8pm. A music and video performance by Tomory Dodge and Cheryl Cambras will then follow the conversation.

At the beginning of the film Blade Runner (1982) - following the expository opening crawl - a place and date flash briefly onto screen: Los Angeles, November, 2019. Then fade-up with a burst of flames spewing forth from the Hades landscape of an oil refinery that blends indiscernibly with the city as a flying craft streams off toward illuminated twin pyramids on the horizon.

Ridley Scott speaks of flying into Manhattan in a helicopter and landing on the Pan Am building as inspiration for the dense polluted megalopolis that appears in the movie. “We used to drift in over the city, very close to the buildings, and it felt like the way of the future.” William Gibson, whose early noir/science fiction shares thematic and textural similarities with the film has said that “The future is already here – it’s just not evenly distributed.” 

The myths of the future have arrived, they’re just very different looking and their analog is someplace else. In fact today’s Los Angeles resembles more the burning sprawl of Lagos than the rain soaked density of New York. Contemporary Los Angeles is a boundless space riven by internecine tribal conflicts, the extreme concentration and stratification of wealth and power, the marginalization and displacement of industry and the emergent precarity of environmental catastrophe.

This exhibition extends the thinking behind the first iteration of This Synthetic Moment which occurred in New York in the winter of 2018. At the time I wanted something porous, a polymeric structure where the voice, agency, geography and temporality of others collude to produce a more compelling version of the world. (Replicant) is a stem concept branching off from the original that describes an asymmetrical, non-linear spatial context with neither beginning nor end. A space inhabited by bodies extended and adorned. A montage of distributed futures: Aten’s sun disk burning bright on the queen of Jamaica, a thousand stars glittering in the tarmac, scattered reflections of chrome bodies in the data-mines, laser pinpricks in the disco, and the amber glow of the cleanroom.

The exhibition brings together a disparate group of artists who rigorously embrace this compelling but imperfect future and provide a fictitious new compound description of this city as vast and contingent.

— David Hartt, Curator


Philip Martin Gallery hours are Tuesday through Saturday from 11am-6pm and by appointment. For further information and images please contact the gallery at +310-559-0100 or

Philip Martin Gallery
2712 S. La Cienega Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90034