March 23 - April 20


Network Effects
By Rachel Jackson and Brandon Bandy

"One of the fundamental dualisms inherent in the question of technology's uses 
in a humanist context has to do with the conflict between the belief that, in a word, 
technology is the metaphysics of this century, and therefore has to be accommodated from within, and the view that technology is somehow self-perpetuating, implacable and essentially inhuman. Nearly all the positions taken by artists and by their scientific 
counterparts with respect to the art/technology relationship are conditioned by one or the other of these antithetical beliefs."

Jane Livingston from "Art and Technology at LACMA, 1967-1971"

In 1952, during the search for domestic uranium, Mountain Pass Mine became the first and only rare earth element mine in the United States. Located just outside of Las Vegas in the Mojave Desert of California, its deposits of rare earth elements proved valuable, particularly Europium, which would be used to produce red phosphors, an essential component in color television technology. Throughout the next few decades the contents of the mine would be integral to the development of radar technologies, lasers, hard disk drives, batteries, and fiber-optic cables. Mountain Pass became the leading producer of rare earth elements from the 1960s until the 1980s.

In tandem, the invention and mass production of the transistor would propel California 
to the forefront of information technology, telecommunications, and aerospace, laying 
the foundation for Silicon Valley. A distinct site within the transition from industrial to post-industrial economies, the region functions as a unique case study within contemporary economics, urban planning, and culture, securing a foothold for the state as a pioneer in the burgeoning tech industry. For the Santa Clara Valley, this development also demarcated an environmental transition from a hub of agricultural production to a new landscape dominated by industrial parks and tract housing. 

In 1975, "New Topographics: Photographs of a Man-Altered Landscape" opened at George Eastman House, signaling a departure from the prior romanticism of landscape photography. Taking a documentary approach to the mundane sprawl that had begun to saturate the West, the exhibition reflected an evolving relationship between humans and the built environment, a pivot towards a potential reevaluation of the natural and artificial. 

While “New Topographics” captured the physical transformation of the U.S. amid a widespread economic and political shift, New Age religious movements responded 
convergently, seeking to address these changes within the metaphysical realm. 
Fusing conceptions of spiritual autonomy, Eastern theology, and mysticism into a new 
esoteric milieu, the movement is defined by philosopher George D. Chryssides as the 
"expectation of a major and universal change being primarily founded on the individual and collective development of human potential." This notion parallels the development of information technology as a means of expanding human productivity and access to knowledge. The free-thinking ethos of these metaphysical communities, which arose 
in relation to 1960s counterculture, established a foundation for what would later be termed The Californian Ideology.

Written by media theorists Richard Barbrook and Andy Cameron in 1995, The Californian Ideology purports that a “new faith has emerged from a bizarre fusion of the cultural bohemianism of San Francisco with the hi-tech industries of Silicon Valley. Promoted in magazines, books, TV programmes, web sites, newsgroups and net conferences, The Californian Ideology promiscuously combines the free-wheeling spirit of the hippies and the entrepreneurial zeal of the yuppies. This amalgamation of opposites has been achieved through a profound faith in the emancipatory potential of the new information technologies.” The article purports that in the early years of computing technology, many individuals, often allied with counterculture and radical politics, were seduced by Marshall McLuhan’s conception of an electronic agora, and the potential to overthrow institutional gatekeepers through new, liberating technologies that empowered the individual. Despite this idealism, the utopian vision of the past would be supplanted by libertarian politics, which instead brought about the evolution of the electronic marketplace.

As Livingston stated 53 years ago, there appears to be little ground between opposing poles of pure animosity or enthusiasm within the conversations around “art and technology.” The artists in Rare Earth may or may not be directly addressing this history, however their work exists as the consequence of the situation, taking a refreshing approach of ambiguity–a rarified position, all within a lineage of practice that remains distinct within the region.

“Without the unique conditions of the California climate, efforts to recreate this phenomena elsewhere have failed.”



Bureau of Inverse Technology [bit] Incorporated 1991 with limited liability Cayman Islands. The Bureau is an information agency servicing the Information Age.

Bureau of Inverse Technology is a real organization that exists in geographic dislocation (Melbourne, San Francisco, and Berlin). Its geography reinforces the ongoing distance-operation of BIT's experiments and other technological diversions. BIT questions the safety of the corporate imagination and its design upon our technological futures.


Erin Calla Watson (1993) lives and works in Los Angeles. She received a BFA from Otis College of Art and Design (2016) and an MFA from CalArts (2023). Exhibitions include “(Untitled) n.d.,” Foxy Production, New York (solo)(2023); “Unto Dust,” Fitzpatrick Gallery, Paris, France; “Video Store,” Foxy Production, New York (all 2023); “a somewhat thin line,” In Lieu, Los Angeles; “KYLE,” Larder, Los Angeles (both 2022); and “The Conspiracy of Art: Part II,” Chateau Shatto, Los Angeles (2019.)” Her work has been featured in Artforum, Mousse, and Studio Magazine.


Ian James is an artist mostly working in photography. He has made solo exhibitions at Five Car Garage/Emma Gray HQ, The Fulcrum, Hernando’s Hideaway (Miami), Vacancy, and Self Actualization (Houston), as well as group exhibitions at The Indianapolis Museum of Contemporary Art, the UNLV Barrick Museum, Roberts Projects, REDCAT, and Holiday Forever (Jackson, WY). He was an artist in residence at SÍM in Reykjavik, Iceland and The Wassaic Project (Wassaic, NY). He has an upcoming monograph to be published with The Fulcrum Press. His work is held in the permanent collection at LACMA and he is an adjunct professor at Otis College of Art & Design, Art Center College of Art & Design, and Pasadena City College.


Lynne Marsh is a Canadian artist currently living and working in Los Angeles, where she is Associate Professor in the Art Department at UC Riverside. Before Los Angeles, she was based in London and Berlin between 2001 and 2016.

Lynne Marsh’s practice questions the status of the image through mediation, technology, and production. The ideas central to Marsh’s research include offstage space; production-in-production; affective and cultural labor; music as a framing device; and the Brechtian revealing of the mechanics of cultural and theatrical production. 

Solo exhibitions of her work have been presented at UCR ARTS, Riverside, CA (2021); Tintype Gallery, London (2018); Berlinische Galerie, Berlin (2017); Opera North, Leeds (2015); ICA, London (2015); Toronto International Film Festival (2014); and Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal (2008). Her work has also been featured in numerous group exhibitions and perennial events including La Biennale de Montréal (2014); Manif d’art
5–The Québec City Biennial (2010); and the 10th International Istanbul Biennial (2010). 

Her work is held in public collections including Fluentum Contemporary Time-based Art, Berlin, Germany; National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa; Remai Modern, Saskatoon, Canada; Agnes Etherington Art Centre, Queen’s University, Kingston, Canada; and Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec, Quebec City, Canada.


Scott Benzel is an interdisciplinary artist living and working in Los Angeles. His work has been exhibited or performed at the J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Museum Of Contemporary Art Los Angeles, LA><ART, Los Angeles, the MAK Center for Art and Architecture, Los Angeles, The Palm Springs Art Museum, the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis, Mt. Wilson Observatory, Pasadena, CA, and REDCAT, Los Angeles, and was featured in Made in L.A. 2012 and 2023 at the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles. Solo exhibitions include The Horse, Dublin, Bel Ami, Los Angeles, Maccarone, New York, Various Small Fires, Los Angeles, Shanaynay, Paris, Public Fiction, Los Angeles, Human Resources, Los Angeles, and Mandrake, Los Angeles. Benzel has organized exhibitions at the MAK Center for Art and Architecture (Schindler House and Mackey House), Los Angeles, Los Angeles Contemporary Archive, and Welcome Inn, Eagle Rock, CA, as part of Pacific Standard Time organized by The Getty Museum, among others. He is a member of the faculty of the School of Art at California Institute of the Arts.