by Wyatt Naoki Conlon
Double Double, Protein Style, Animal Style with a Strawberry Shake and Chips is a series of site-specific exhibitions for Wyatt Conlon’s newest publication. Conlon's book weaves multiple timelines, from the minutes of his grandfather’s waking hours to a photographic archive of his entire life, allowing the viewer to observe and control the subject's passing time. Through systematic collaging, Conlon creates instantaneous moments of then and now and compositions of coincidences that capture life's intimacies. Ultimately, questioning the truth of one's memory and act of recollection. In this presentation, an ode to Shoichi Yoshida's travels, Bungee Space will exhibit print, objects and video from the book–a project Conlon has been working on for almost a decade.
by Sara Knelman
How do you measure a life? By the number of years or months or days or minutes lived? By the number of photographs taken, government documents issued, letters written? By the number of hamburgers eaten, or the number of hummingbirds fed? By the number of people loved? And what can one life measured show us? About a historical moment, a geographic place, about choices made? What can the measurements of one life tell us about what mattered and what did not, about how to find joy, relieve pain, keep challenging? What can we learn from hummingbirds or hamburgers or love?
Between January 1, 1925 and May 13, 2015, Shoichi Yoshida was alive: He woke up every day at 4am, was born in Hawaii, moved to Los Angeles, fought for America in the War Crimes Detachment in the Philippines and Japan in World War II (he ticked the ‘Japanese’ box on his registration card), married and had kids (and then his kids had kids), lifted weights, gardened, danced, played the piano, played with his kids, played with his grandkids, worked as a reflexologist, collected things (small things mainly, and things that mark time), went on holidays, listened to music, embraced change, smart phones and the internet, wrote love letters, sent valentines, hid easter eggs, decorated Christmas trees, took pictures (of his family and hummingbirds and the wide expanse of the sea), laughed, ate In n’ Out with his grandson (double double, protein style, animal style with a strawberry shake and chips), experienced joy and pain (and chose joy and relieved pain), loved his family, hummingbirds, wide expanses of the sea, also silly hats, sunsets, tradition and routine, celebrated 90 birthdays, hated the color red, was notsentimental, and went to sleep every evening at 7pm, though not necessarily in that order.
In this order: At twenty to seven, a smiling, athletic teenager joins the US military, his blue steel eyes even more dashing in uniform, for about an hour. Well, to start out with, let me thank you sincerely for your very sweet, lovely, and for your very touching report and no kidding, I just love it. And by a quarter past eight, he is married, with his bride, on bicycles, on Catalina Island. By 9, there are kids and backyard inflatable pools, streamers and birthday cakes, tether ball and freshly caught fish. We build strong kids, strong families, strong communities. Time moves differently, becomes harder to tell, obscured as it is by the accumulation of growing and living. And at a quarter past 11, (nearly halfway!), he is dancing, drifting lightly into the afternoon. Between 1 and 2, a little gambling, more dancing, a funeral—then skiing, a kiss, a dinner party. May all your events end up with a positive note. By mid-afternoon, he is markedly older, wrapped in laugh lines and grandchildren learning how to lift weights and play soccer, take pictures and find joy. At 4, a pause for elegance: a double take, a second chance. Is it then or now? Who can remember which dress was which? Only that you looked beautiful. Let’s Do It Some Other Time, OK? Afterwards, he is older still, but his energy is new, his eyes youthful, hungry, learning. He massages feet now and celebrates. Time passes again, stuffed with work and ping pong and basketball. And then the evening is upon him, the last trip home, the last year, the last hour. A lei, a birthday cake, a hummingbird. Don’t be sad, he says in a bejeweled cowboy hat, with an ice cream sandwich, a wink. Ok Now. Pressed Escape.
Baby, Backyard, Balloon, Basket, Basket Ball, Bathtub, Bed, Bedside Table, Bicycle, Birdcage, Bowls, Business Card, Cake, Calculator, Candle, Car, CD, Certificate, Child, Christmas Tree, Clock, Coin, Computer, Conlon, Wyatt, Corsage, Curlers, Dog, Emoji, Exercise Bike, Fancy Hinged Easter Eggs, Father, Feet, Ferris Wheel, Fish, Flowers, Food, Foot Massage, Fountain, Funeral, Garden, General Sherman Tree, Graduation, Grandfather, Hamburger, Horses in Snow, Hummingbird (late in life, when he moved into a home for seniors, his family bought him a camera, an exercise bike and a hummingbird feeder. He hung the feeder and rode the bike while watching hummingbirds. He began trying to photograph one, and after several attempts, succeeded. He emailed the image to his family, who had bought him the camera, and then threw it away, its purpose served), Ice Cream, Inflatable Pool, Kettle, Kiss, Lamp, Love Letters, Monopoly, Neatly Hung Shirts, Ocean, Palm Tree, Parking Lot, Party Hat, Patch, Peacock, Penguin, Picnic Table, Piano, Pillow, Ping Pong Table, Playing Card, Photograph, Popsicle, Post-It Note, Present, Stamps, Sand, Slot Machine, Skis, Snow, Snow Capped Mountain, Soccer Ball, Souvenir, Sunglasses, Sunrise in Maui, Tank Top, Teenager, Telephone, Text Message, Tinsel, Trampoline, Tuxedo, TV, Uniform, Valentine, Video Game, Wallpaper, Wedding, Weight, Yoshida, Soichi. His grandson brought him lunch each week and then spent years and months and days and minutes constructing a life and a day and a book (and the index of a book and a day and a life) out of hamburgers and hummingbirds and love. The life and the day and the book are the same, full of crisp moments and imprecise memories and vast gaps, and they are distinct, full of vast moments and crisp memories and imprecise gaps. So how do you measure a life? Hamburgers and hummingbirds and love - let them seep into us, the future.
Wyatt Conlon (b. 1991, Los Angeles, California, USA) is an image-based artist who received his BFA from the University of Southern California in 2013. He uses found and taken sources of imagery to analyze his ancestral history, collective memory and the act of recollection. He is one of three members of The Fulcrum Press, an independent publisher and contemporary gallery based in Los Angeles, California exploring the interplay between photography and other media.