Survival Research Laboratories in Los Angeles, 10/1

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 Machines Firstlatest In 1979, machine artist Mark Pauline staged the first ever Survival Research Laboratories performance. Pictured above, the show, titled "Machine Sex," took place at a San Francisco Chevron station where dead pigeons dressed in Arab thawbs were gruesomely "processed" by the De-Manufacturing Machine, a commentary on the oil crisis of the time. Right now, Mark is restoring and reviving the De-Manufacturing Machine for a small SRL performance as part of a group exhibition titled "Under the Big Black Sun: California Art 1974–1981," opening next month at Los Angeles' Museum of Contemporary Art. Mark tells me that after running the De-Manufacturing Machine on October 1, "It will sit there for 4 months after that gathering art dust at the museum." Under The Big Black Sun features a phenomenal list of California artists, including Guillermo Gómez-Peña, Lynn Hershman, John Baldessari, Bruce Conner, Edward Ruscha, Raymond Pettibon, Gary Panter, and dozens more.

SRL at the MOCA

Under the Big Black Sun: California Art 1974–1981

* spotted in the 1979 photo above: RE/Search's V. Vale and infamous performance artist Karen Finley!


  1. Mark Pauline has always been something of an inspiration to me, and a reminder of how dangerous DIY machinery can be.  I tend towards making more practical and controlled equipment (sawmills, propane forges, kilns, trailers), but still try to  give things a little menacing artistic flare when I can work it in. 

  2. don”t remember the oil crisis of ’79, but driving across the country during the arab oil embargo was a memorable trip!  that would be several years earlier i think.  mark pauline has definitely paid for his art in terms of a mangled arm and psyche.  he’s getting lots of respect from people who weren’t there at the time and live in a completely different society.

  3. I grew up during the oil embargo and I can’t figure out what happened to the 70 MPG cars people were going to be driving by the year 2000.

    I was fine with this idea until I got to the phrase “art dust”.

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