Without saying anything, Jason Hirata and Sol Hashemi lifted a thick floorboard, propped it on a slab of white marble standing upright like a headstone, and strapped a double long fluorescent to its back that lit the underside. The historically hot Seattle night rolled in through the new hole in the floor.
A quick forest of sculptures was added, involving a glistening, honey-colored cylinder (it turned out to be a roll of heavy-duty plastic wrap), a trunk of curled-up bamboo veneer, chunks of granite countertop sporting scrapbook-sticker drawings, and a hump of shimmery lenticular plastic. Trapezoids hovering on white paper were painted in ink made from Hirata's sweat; a white shape painted thinly on a grid of photos presented itself like the ghost of an overhead light. An Optigan—a machine that uses light to play music—pumped out cha-cha. Then the house lights went out, and new shapes appeared, made by lights installed strategically underneath the ravaged old floor. Inside, a tiny flashlight set a tiny crystal on fire.
All of these things might have happened during the opening of Hirata and Hashemi's art show Generally, incidentally, light at Dirty Shed, a new venue that is, basically, a dirty shed. Because this shed is in the backyard of the home of Eric Fredericksen and Betsey Brock, who have other art jobs and full lives and cannot stand around waiting for people to come into their backyard at night, Generally, incidentally, light requires an appointment. The show you'll get won't be the same one I got that hot night, or the one that happened opening night last Friday. Your appointment (e-mail email@example.com) will generate a new incarnation.
Why you should care: Hirata and Hashemi are a force of smart newness in Seattle art, individually and together. If you had to say what they do, you'd say it's a mix of photography, performance, and sculpture, but that would still be incomplete. Hashemi showed a grid of mysteriously alluring photographs from an unidentified special occasion at the University of Washington BFA show this past spring; Hirata's LeWitt-derived photographs of plywood beams resting on each other and on a wall represented shapes his friends built using his instructions. They were the show's standouts. Outside the show, they also got attention: Firemen were called, and Hashemi was nearly arrested for a sculpture involving a Jeep parked on campus with a fog machine running inside.
Generally, incidentally, light has to happen at night. Hirata and Hashemi have a whole nocturnal practice going; they wore headlamps and performed in the windows of PUNCH Gallery at night in March, and it began when they showed at a new UW photo-department gallery that wasn't outfitted with lights. I prefer to think of them as they were on the night of the hottest day in Seattle history: driving away from the sunset with a video camera pointed back, speeding east into the dark.
This story has been updated since its original publication.