What would a society that prioritizes wellbeing over productivity feel like?
These questions are central to the creative expression of Los Angeles-based artist Lani Trock. Informed by a childhood spent exploring the wild spaces of Hawaii, California and Maryland, her growing body of work seems to operate solely within this optimistic framework. In Lani’s world, we are all one, part of the interconnected fabric that is the multiverse, humans and plants alike.
Take, for instance “the galactic wave,” a participatory music and movement performance, co-facilitated with friend of HAOMA Carlos Niño, which demonstrated that the voice of each person present was essential to the fabric of the piece itself. Or “the bridge,” a collectively-written archive of stories imagining the future we all want, inspired by the journals of the great American thinker Octavia Butler.
These public programs are both part of Trock's ongoing project, “the national peace service (NPS)," which she initiated in 2017. Through radical thought experiments made into tangible, temporary expressions, the series imagines a decentralized, post-capitalist future; one that mirrors the effortless, symbiotic flow of nature’s zero-waste, circular systems and in turn builds a more just, equitable, loving and peaceful world.
In a recent NPS workshop co-facilitated by Celeste B. Young, participants engaged in a walking meditation in Barnsdall Park, followed by a heart-mapping and future-visioning practice inside of “the unified field,” a site-specific installation Trock created as part of a group exhibition at The LA Municipal Art Gallery last fall. During the same show, Trock presented “free food,” an intimate workshop that explored self-reliance, sovereignty and the de-commodification of food systems through the regeneration of backyard farming and communal sharing practices. Offerings included saved seeds, homegrown herbs, gleaned citrus, and Meyer seedlings that Trock sprouted and cared for in the months leading up to the show.
evolving and ephemeral materials,” she explains
“I frequently work with fragile, evolving and ephemeral materials,” she explains, “exploring ideas of non-attachment to more closely represent the ebb and flow of life on this planet – and to embody the true, transitory nature of existence.” This fragility was apparent in Trock’s most recent site-specific installation, which was supported by HAOMA as part of a recent group show curated by Nicodim Gallery and Deitch Projects, “Hollywood Babylon: the Re-Inauguration of the Pleasure Dome,” which kicked off this year’s Frieze Art fair.
Installed in the former location of Spago, the infamous restaurant and gathering spot on the Sunset Strip, the show was an homage to the work of Kenneth Anger and featured pieces by Genesis P-Orridge, Kembra Phaler, and Gus Van Sant, to name just a few. Amidst works that spoke directly to the somewhat darker themes of the occult and celebrity, Trock’s pieces cast a different sort of spell.
Part of an ongoing series called “new earth,” which Trock describes as “a physical representation of this potent period of time" where "we now begin to ground heaven on Earth,” the work featured plant matter and fresh fruit, delicate porcelain, and flowing textiles. While previous expressions in this series depicted the early phases of awakening (ie: breakdown, becoming empty for a time, and creating the correct vibrational conditions to allow divine intelligence to flow through), Trock explains that this incarnation of the series illustrated our collective movement into the embodiment phase of the ascension process – a phase that she believes we can currently inhabit.
“In this pivotal moment of human evolution – the ascension into unity consciousness – we can begin to operate from an integrated awareness, felt in the physical body, of our fundamental interconnection through our transpersonal collective consciousness," she says. "From this understanding springs a natural empathy, grace, and compassion that reverberates throughout all of our creations, manifesting in what was so rightly named in Charles Eisenstein’s visionary tome, The More Beautiful World Our Hearts Know is Possible.”
“These pieces are about the empowerment of the divine feminine,” she continues, “and the natural abundance of the earth rising to counter and reimagine the collapsing structures built in the age of separation, dominated by the ideals of toxic masculinity. [We are] planting seeds for the future amidst the rubble of the old. The work invites stillness, and the pleasure of slowness, to counteract the capitalist imperative to be in constant motion, in production. How do we slow down? How do we cultivate new, collectively-owned, systems of care? Systems that meet our basic needs and beyond, equally accessible to all, in which all beings are considered to be of equal value. What does a well-rested world look like? What would it feel like to prioritize wellbeing over productivity?"
Lani Trock’s next exhibition opens at The Philosophical Research Society (PRS) on March 25th, 2020. In conjunction with the exhibition, she’ll present a series of free public programs, including another iteration of "the galactic wave" co-facilitated by Carlos Niño & Friends and The Open Source Community Choir as part of PRS’ artist-in-residence Mandy Kahn’s "I like Peace" series.