The Extreme Present: Los Angeles

ForYourArt & the City of West Hollywood present

The Extreme Present: Los Angeles

Shumon Basar, Douglas Coupland, and Hans Ulrich Obrist with guests including Miranda July and David Lynch plus Patrick Belaga and Amalia Ulman

West Hollywood City Council Chambers
625 N San Vicente Blvd, West Hollywood, CA 90069

Friday, August 14th at 7pm
Live streaming will be accessible at

The Age of Earthquakes book signing with Book Soup at 6pm 

To attend:
RSVP to by 8.10.2015, limited spaces available.


Los Angeles (August, 2015) – We all know that we are constantly distracted by the internet. We check our smartphones on average 110 times a day. But what exactly is the internet doing to our brains? How is it altering the structure of society and even the planet itself?

Presented by ForYourArt and the City of West Hollywood’s Innovation and Technology Program “WeHoX,” The Extreme Present: Los Angeles brings together three of the foremost commentators on the digital age: Douglas Coupland the renowned author of Generation X, Hans Ulrich Obrist, one of the world’s best-known curators, and Shumon Basar, the writer, thinker and cultural critic.

In a special, rapid-fire event, the three of them will explore the digital era in which we are now living, which they call the “Extreme Present’, introduced in their new book The Age of Earthquakes (Blue Rider Press). This will include a conversation between the authors and guests, each bringing unique angles of thought and expertise from arts, culture, and technology.

Miranda July and David Lynch will join the authors as they examine the neurological, social, cultural and geological effects that the Extreme Present is having on the textures of our lives. Artist and cellist Patrick Belaga will perform and artist Amalia Ulman will discuss her contribution to the book as well.

Basar, Coupland, Obrist and guests will bring their new ‘Glossarium’ to life, describing the unsettling experiences of the always-on, networked age. In the space of just 20 years, the internet has transformed us completely. It has changed not just the structure of our brains, but the structure of the planet. Our attention spans have narrowed to the length of a Beatles song. Our lives used to feel like stories; now they’ve collapsed to a perpetually refreshing stream of tweets and posts. We outsource our memory to the ‘Cloud’, and remember nothing we don’t have to. All that exists is immediately in the now. The internet, like all technologies, is not being shaped to resemble humans. Humans are being shaped to resemble the internet. Welcome to the age of the Extreme Present.

The City of West Hollywood’s WeHoTV, which provides access to coverage of City government meetings, issues, and informational programming, will host live coverage of the event on the City’s WeHoTV channels and on the City’s website. WeHoTV programs are available to Time Warner Cable customers within the City of West Hollywood on channel 10. AT&T U-verse customers across Southern California can access WeHoTV on channel 99. Live streaming will be accessible and there will also be a link for on-demand replay following the event.

This event is supported in part by the Institute of the 21st Century (i21c).  i21c is a project of the Pasadena Arts Council’s Emerge Fiscal Sponsorship Program.

Follow on Social Media for updates:


Hashtag: #ExtremePresent

Parking Information:
2 hour free parking with validation for attendees is available in the 5-story public parking structure on El Tovar Pl.

About the Participants:

Shumon Basar –Writer, thinker, cultural critic. He is Commissioner/Director of the Global Art Forum in Dubai, editor-at-large of Tank magazine and contributing editor of Bidoun magazine, director of Format at the AA School, London, and a founding member of the ’Thought Council,’ at the Fondazione Prada, Milan.  

Douglas Coupland – Author of more than 13 novels, including Generation X, Microsoft , and Girlfriend in a Coma. He began a visual art practice in 2000, and his first museum retrospective opened in summer 2014 at the Vancouver Art Gallery. He has written and performed for the Royal Shakespeare Company and is a regular columnist for the Financial Times.

Hans Ulrich Obrist – Co-director of the Serpentine Galleries in London since 2006. He is widely considered one of the most influential contemporary curators in the world and is the author of many books, including Lives of the Artists, Lives of the Architects, and Ways of Curating.

Miranda July is a filmmaker, artist, and writer. Her most recent work is The First Bad Man, a novel. July’s collection of stories, No One Belongs Here More Than You, won the Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award and has been published in twenty-three countries. She wrote, directed and starred in The Future and Me and You and Everyone We Know — winner of the Camera d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival and a Special Jury Prize at Sundance. July’s participatory art works include the website Learning to Love You More (with artist Harrell Fletcher), Eleven Heavy Things (a sculpture garden created for the 2009 Venice Biennale), New Society (a performance), and Somebody (a messaging app.)  

David Lynch is a film director, television director, visual artist, musician, actor, and author. His films include Eraserhead, The Elephant Man, Blue Velvet, Lost Highway and Mulholland Drive, as well as co-creating the TV series, Twin Peaks. His most recent album was The Big Dream. In 2014, Lynch’s alma mater, the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, staged the first major museum exhibition of his art entitled The Unified Field. Lynch is a proponent of transcendental meditation, a practice he has embraced since 1973, and in 2005, he founded the David Lynch Foundation for Consciousness-Based Education and Peace.

Patrick Belaga (b. 1991) is a classically trained experimental cellist who has been training and performing for 18 years.  He received a Bachelor of Music degree in cello performance, and a secondary degree in audio production, from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2014.  Recent performances include Donaufestival 2015 (Krems, Austria), the Museum of Contemporary Art (Los Angeles), Migros Museum für Gegenwartskunst (Zurich), Julia Stoschek Collection / Kunsthalle (Düsseldorf), and Spring Workshop (Hong Kong), as part of an ongoing collaboration with artists Wu Tsang and boychild. Other recent performances include solo work at the Getty, MaRS Gallery (LA), and a performance at Fahrenheit Gallery (LA) in collaboration with Ligia Lewis and Thibault Lac.  Cello recordings include the soundtrack for Gus Van Sant and Justin Kelly’s recent feature film I AM MICHAEL.

Amalia Ulman is an airport based artist with an office in Downtown LA. Born in Argentina but raised in Spain, she studied Fine Arts at Central Saint Martins in London. Her works are primarily voiced in the first person, often blurring the distinction between the artist and object of study. In a multidisciplinary manner, she explores the relationship between consumerism and identity, class imitation and social deception, altruism and empathy. Recent solo shows and projects include International House of Cozy, MAMA, Rotterdam (2015); Stock Images of War, James Fuentes, New York (2014); The Destruction Of Experience, Evelyn Yard, London (2014) and Excellences & Perfections, a performance in social media that has been archived by Rhizome the New Museum, New York, and supported by Arcadia_Missa, London​.


Very much in the spirit of Los Angeles itself, ForYourArt is nimble, non-hierarchical, and independent. ForYourArt is a fluid platform to produce and distribute artists’ work. ForYourArt seeks to advance a spirit of patronage and a culture of dialogue by perceiving all media, sites, and relationships as potential for artistic transformation. ForYourArt is known for its weekly publication, Plan ForYourArt – a trusted resource for discovering art across Los Angeles that covers museums, independent organizations, galleries, lectures, performances, and publications.

City of West Hollywood and its Innovation and Technology Program “WeHoX”

The City of West Hollywood is a creative hub located in the heart of metropolitan Los Angeles. Filled with rich history and iconic destinations, the City is innovative in its approach. In the fall of 2014, the City launched WeHoX, the City’s first comprehensive civic innovations program, to explore the merging of technology and innovation with civic purposes for government transformation. WeHoX is an initiative designed to engage the diverse and talented members of the West Hollywood community in dialogue with City staff to improve the City’s capacity for innovation. by bridging the public and private sectors, WeHoX looks to the cutting-edge industries and entrepreneurs operating in the City to find innovative solutions that will make West Hollywood a better place to live, work, and play.

Image Credit: From The Age of Earthquakes (Blue Rider Press). Artwork by Douglas Coupland.