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Austin Young is a Tranimal

March 21, 2012 by Phil Tarley in Art, Artists, Photography with 0 Comments
Image from Machine Project, Hammer Museum. © Austin Young

Image from Machine Project, Hammer Museum. © Austin Young

Austin Young, whose work has shown at LACMA, LACE, the Hammer Museum, the Stephen Cohen Gallery and countless other spaces and places in and around the avant California scene, is bristling with excitement about his latest project Tranimal…Young’s new endeavor – a collaboration with Squeaky Blonde and Fade-Dra, is infused with the artist’s high voltage underground creative energy. Tranimal is a big and bold project. It incorporates video, photography, and interactive sound design. And its taking performance art to an operatic level.

I spoke with the Austin one morning, just after a night of performance at the Machine Project and he told me about his creative partners. Participants are put through an assembly line where Squeaky Blonde, Fade-Dra , Young costume them, make-them up and turn them into a cast of glamorous, genderless creatures. Mark Allen, director of Machine Project, makes light sensitive circuitry boards that are sewn into theor costumes. The boards have knobs that the performers use to change the sound frequencies, creating musical score with light and movement. Juliana Snapper, an opera singer and performance artist, guides the players to find the vocal expression of their new identities. The particpant-performers become collaborators in a musical performance. Then Young shoots formal portraits and video of the end result. Here is a sneak peak of his work.

Words Phil Tarley
Images Courtesy Austin Young


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Phil Tarley

About Phil Tarley

Phil Tarley is a fellow of the American Film Institute, an artist member of the Los Angeles Art Association and writes about contemporary art, pop culture and photography for Fabrik Magazine. He curates at the A C Gallery in Los Angeles and founded Round Hole Square Peg, a biannual, international survey of LGBTQ photography shown at the Photo LA. Tarley is also a critical essayist for Katharine T. Carter & Associates, an art advisory service that  helps artists obtain museum exhibitions. His personal series of political and ethnographic videos is housed in the permanent collection of the New York Public Library and has screened in film festivals and museums like the American Film Institute,and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum. In 2009, under his nom de porn, Phil St. John, Tarley was inducted into the Gay Porn Hall of Fame for his 20-year producing and directing career. His writing and photography have also appeared in the LA Times, the LA Weekly, The WOW Report, Adventure Journal, the Advocate, Frontiers, Adult Video News, Genre, Instinct and American Photo Magazine. His book, Going down On Cuba: Notes from An Underground Traveler,  is slated to be published later in the year by Fabrik Press.  

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