Julie Weitz

Nov 12, 2015 - February 20, 2016



Julie Weitz is a visual artist based in Los Angeles. Her experimental videos and painting installations have often explored the intersection between digital and material methods for visualizing what she calls ‘the internalized processes of the self,’ while at the same time constantly experimenting with different materials and forms (including transparent and reflective materials, such as plexiglass and mirrors). On November 13 she will reveal a new body of work called Touch Museum at Young Projects in Los Angeles, which combines a number of new video installations with original binaural recordings and a live YouTube channel created by the artist. The exhibition also features an original soundscape by LA-based composer Deru.


The exhibition takes its inspiration from many of the ASMR (Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response) communities that have popped up on the internet in recent years. ASMR, which initially gained attention in 2010, is defined as a precise perceptual phenomenon that is triggered by visual, auditory or cognitive stimuli. In many cases practitioners claim to experience heightened sensations (specifically a “tingling”) within various regions of the body/skull. Nancy Webb, a writer based in Montreal who experiences ASMR, explains it this way, "Some intuitive, mnemonic function of the brain that still evades comprehensive scientific explanation responds to a [video of a] stranger brushing wig hair on-screen in a different time zone by producing corresponding chills all over the scalp. The idea of care feels like goose-bumps and ASMR videos perform this distillation – of literal, physical touch into the quality of being touched, the remembrance of touch. "


Weitz, who was originally trained as a painter, claims that she initially started using video in her practice in 2009, partly out of her own increasing awareness of technology’s role in our lives, and partly out of a desire to explore the medium more critically. As she explains, “I was curious about how technology was changing the way we see ourselves, connect with others, and focus (or defocus) our attention. I was particularly inspired by Jaron Lanier's You are Not a Gadget and his plead for digital humanism. His ideas resonated with my concerns for how we relate to our bodies in the digital space.”


Given that ASMR is almost entirely a YouTube phenomenon, (practitioners upload simple videos of intimate moments—the brushing of one’s hair for instance, or the opening of jars) it stands as fertile territory for Weitz’s exploration of that very same body/digital split. As she says, “ASMR extends this question of how we experience empathy and locates it in the digital space. It’s a type of low-tech virtual reality that allows one group of people (the video-makers) to offer relief, comfort and relaxation to another group of people (the viewers) through simple, straightforward techniques. As an artist, I’m inspired by the perceptibility of this exchange despite its apparent intangibility."


For Touch Museum Weitz has created a wholly-immersive, darkened space within the gallery, which is punctuated by vivid, colored projections and screens. Here the human body and its relationship to touch is amplified and complicated. Various screens show carefully constructed tableaus created by the artist—often literalizing the idea of the ‘artist’s hand.’ And yet the space is configured in such a way that the knotty interplay between real experiences (i.e. touch) and virtual ones has been realized and confounded. Touch, as both a concept and physicality, becomes a formal reference point for interrogating both, art/historical ideas the kinetic nature of the projected image itself.


Born and raised outside of Chicago, Julie Weitz’s most recent exhibitions include a solo show at Agency in Los Angeles, CA, a solo installation of her video Primoridal Mirror at Ware:Wolf:Haus in Dallas, TX, and a two-person show (with Kamrooz Aram) at The Suburban in Oak Park, IL. Weitz has been featured in the New York Times, Art in America, Photograph Magazine and on the cover of New American Painting. She is a 2010 recipient of The West Prize and has been awarded residencies at The Banff Centre, Ox-Bow and Makor at the 92nd St Y.


Benjamin Wynn (aka Deru) is an Emmy Award winning American composer, sound designer and music producer. Wynn is also an electronic music producer under the name “Deru”. His music is best described as an amalgamation of hip-hop, electronic and IDM.