Tristan Duke Part 1: The Magus in His Youth
Fabrik | Monday, Feb 04, 2019
You may have first encountered some of the gob-smackingly prestidigitaceous marvels of the young LA magus Tristan Duke at LACMA’s current 3D Double Vision show (those astonishing rotating aluminum platters off to the side in the first room after the entrance, where, thanks to the scratches he’s somehow hand-etched into the platters, sequential Platonic solids seem to hover, ghostly translucent, pirouetting in midair above the turntables). Or by way of the recent Disneyreleasedvinyl LPs of the music to “Star Wars” (above which wraithlike simulacra of the Death Star and the Millennium Falcon likewise seem to gyre). Or maybe it was by way of those mind-boggling in-folding and exfoliating handheld notched wooden contraptions(cubes transmogrifying into dodecahedrons in the flick of the wrist, for godssake). Or byway of several of his secret optical-trapdoor contributions at Culver City’s endlessly confounding Museum of Jurassic Technology. Or as in my case, it might have been by way of the Liminal Camera, the shippingcontainer-sized pinhole-camera-obscura mounted atop a flatbed truck which he and his artistic collaborators in the Optics Division of downtown LA’s Metabolic Studio have been dragging all around the country, documenting scenes of ecological devastation on walllength sheets of photographic paper (and not infrequently developing the results in the very toxic muds left over, as in the Owens Valley, by all that blight).
Whatever the occasion, and even if you had not yet heard his name, you too might have found yourself wondering, as I certainly did, WTF, WTH is this guy!?