Semi-Tropic Spiritualist Guidebook
Astri Swendsrud & Quinn Gomez-Heitzeberg
Paperback, full color, 126 pages
Cover Price $45.00
Insert Blanc Press is pleased to announce the publication of The Semi-Tropic Spiritualist Guidebook by Astri Swendsrud & Quinn Gomez-Heitzeberg. The full color book accompanies the exhibition What Can The Semi-Tropic Spiritualists Do For You? at General Projects and Outside Gallery from September 7 to November 4, 2018 and launches on Friday November 2, 2018. The book is now available for Pre-Sale and will begin shipping in early November!
Alongside the publication and exhibition, Insert Blanc Press is also excited for the release of a new series of original drawings and a print edition What Can The Semi-Tropic Spiritualists Do For You? by Astri Swendsrud & Quinn Gomez-Heitzeberg.
The Semi-Tropic Spiritualist Guidebook, brings together images, texts, excerpts of performance scripts, and printed ephemera from the Semi-Tropic Spiritualist’s previous exhibitions. The book is organized as both a record of the project’s Test Sites from 2012-2018, and as an idiosyncratic guidebook to California’s spiritual history and geography.
Semi-Tropic Spiritualists began in 2012 as an ongoing series of performance works, objects and illustrated texts by Los Angeles-based artists Astri Swendsrud and Quinn Gomez-Heitzeberg. Their works explore the history of spiritual belief and metaphysical practice in Los Angeles through the Semi-Tropic Spiritualists, an organization that created a campsite meeting place outside the city limits of Los Angeles in 1905. Spiritualism has described itself as a science, a philosophy and a religion. The artists are interested in this system as a model for examining ideas of faith and skepticism, belief and charlatanism, as well as for the development of a space dedicated to investigation and the search for knowledge.
What Can The Semi-Tropic Spiritualists Do For You? is an exhibition of two interactive installations, Test Site No. 6: The Semi-Tropic Spiritualist Pilgrimage and Test Site No. 9: The Semi-Tropic Spiritualist Symbology Divination System. The exhibition considers the desire for practical efficacy that often accompanies the development of metaphysical or spiritual practices. The works presented engage the complexities of translating spiritual experience into physical form, and raise questions of desire, authenticity and authority. The first installation, Test Site No. 6, continues the Semi-Tropic Spiritualist’s interest in geography and history, while also asking viewers to engage in personal contemplation. In the tradition of the religious pilgrimage, the artists created a self-guided tour, through which visitors can spatially experience the legacy and values of the group, ponder their own responses, and walk away with a souvenir. The second installation, Test Site No. 9, moves the locus of investigation away from the external world and toward internal experience. Through the creation of an interactive divination system, the Semi-Tropic Spiritualists invite visitors to engage with the group’s symbology as a method of personal guidance or enlightenment.
The Semi-Tropic Spiritualists have exhibited their installations and performance works at Richard Telles Fine Art, Klowden Mann, The Vincent Price Museum, and Chime & Co. in Los Angeles; Shangri-La, Joshua Tree, CA; and Llano del Rio, CA among other locations. Their work will also be part of the upcoming exhibition Totenpass at Visitor Welcome Center, Los Angeles, in October 2018. Both artists received their MFAs from CalArts in 2008.