George Pfau and Tom Comitta
Zombie Variations
24 September - 29 October 2016
Reception: 24 September, 7-10p


Exhibition Text
Review on ArtBlitz LA
Documentation from Zombie Variations
Installation view
Documentation from Zombie Variations
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Documentation from Zombie Variations
Installation view
Documentation from Zombie Variations
Installation view
Documentation from Zombie Variations
Installation view
Documentation from Zombie Variations
Installation view
Documentation from Zombie Variations
Installation view
Documentation from Zombie Variations
Installation view
Documentation from Zombie Variations
Installation view
Documentation from Zombie Variations
Installation view
Documentation from Zombie Variations
Installation view
Documentation from Zombie Variations
Installation view
Documentation from Zombie Variations
Installation view
Documentation from Zombie Variations
Installation view
Documentation from Zombie Variations
Installation view
Documentation from Zombie Variations
Installation view
“Zombie” is everywhere. There’s “zombie formalism,” “zombie technology,” “zombie debt,” “zombie poetry.” If something exists, there’s a living dead version of it. Why is this? And to what effect? For years George Pfau has been exploring these questions and our culture’s fixation on zombie through painting, drawing, video and lectures. Starting with a collaborative video, also titled Zombie Variations, he began to work with poet Tom Comitta on a number of linguistic and poetic inquiries into zombie and the grotesque, which has now spread across many media. At Alter Space, these multimedia collaborations will be on display, offering viewers a glimpse into a fusion of their practices in which language, pop culture and the grotesque merge into many variations on a theme.

Zombie Variations will house the entirety of Pfau and Comitta’s multifaceted project. On display is the 15-minute video that began their collaboration. The large-scale vinyl installation “Eight-Fields Surrounding a Village (Or the History of the Hashtag)” greets visitors with a sequential narrative that maps zombie film tropes to the evolution of the hashtag. A number of rebus paintings by Pfau and Comitta offer deconstructed, alternative visual narratives to popular zombie movies. Additionally, visitors can engage with the interactive iOS app, BlabberLab, which is a dynamic tool for creating grotesque coded messages or visual poems. The variations abound; also on display is the BlabberLab video trailer, t-shirts, temporary tattoos and drawings.

This exhibition will also debut two books: Zombie Variations and Zombie Variations Symposium. The former displays a full catalog of collaborative drawings, text art, sound poetry scores, notes, and other images by Pfau and Comitta. Zombie Variations Symposium presents the work of six artists, poets, lawyers and scholars: Ashley Brim, Angela Hennessy, Rajkamal Kahlon, Sarah Juliet Lauro, Jonah Mixon-Webster and Joshua Warren. Their approaches to manifesto, collage, drawing and storytelling offer additional and highly nuanced approaches to “zombie” and pop culture.

George Pfau’s ongoing projects span a range of visual media, focusing on zombies, human anatomy, boundary crossing, and the legibility of language. Over the past three years he has been collaborating with Tom Comitta on their Zombie Variations project, and has also been a member of ERNEST, an artist working group. He has recently exhibited artworks at the Berkeley Art Center, c3:initative, The Portland ‘Pataphysical Society, Royal Nonesuch Gallery, Gallery 400, and in several film festivals. His work has been reviewed by publications including Vice Motherboard, Fast Company, i09, Boing Boing, Kotaku, PORT, The Portland Tribune, AV Club, Art Threat, Art Practical, KQED, and Esquire Russia. His Zombiescapes project was featured in the book The Transatlantic Zombie by Sarah Juliet Lauro. Pfau is based in San Francisco, CA.

Tom Comitta is a multimedia artist and recent transplant from Oakland to Los Angeles. He has exhibited at LUMA Foundation, Reed College, E6 Gallery, The Kala Art Institute and The Block Museum of Art. In 2015 The Royal Nonesuch Gallery in Oakland installed Comitta’s solo show, First Thought Worst Thought, an interactive archive containing the 40 artist books he composed between 2011 and 2014. Gauss PDF published these 40 books as paperbacks and e-books the same year. Other recent publications include ◯ (Ugly Ducking Presse) and SENT (Invisible Venue). His work was recently anthologized in The New Concrete (Hayward Publishing, UK), an international anthology surveying the "rise of concrete poetry in the digital age." Comitta has held residencies at the Bemis Center for Contemporary Art, Bay Area Video Coalition and San Francisco Arts Education Project, where he conducted multimedia writing workshops with San Francisco youth.