Larry and Debby Kline artists and provocateurs – installation, performances, and other works

Trifecta: Artist, Scientist, Patron exhibition tour video

We wanted to share a video documenting the Trifecta: Artist, Scientist, Patron exhibition at the La Jolla Historical Society.  Click on this link to view:

This interdisciplinary exhibition was inspired by a visionary gift from the Jacobs family, funding 18 endowed chairs for Salk Institute scientists for their outstanding contributions to biological research.  Curator Chi Essary, paired artists with these honored scientists to create the Trifecta: Artist, Scientist, Patron exhibition. The artists shared their visions inspired by this cutting-edge research.


Our piece, Seeking Truth (pictured above), riffs off of the scientific research of Thomas Albright, the Chair of Vision Research at the Salk Institute.  It also incorporates poetry by David Antin and Jerome Rothenberg, and readings by Eleanor Antin and Jerome Rothenberg.  See catalog entry below for more details:


Catalog Entry - Trifecta

Catalogue text: SEEKING TRUTH

In his Ted Talk, Why Witnesses Fail, Thomas Albright, concludes with the phrase “Seeing Is believing but neither is equivalent to truth.”  His talk exposes the brain’s inability to see accurately and its susceptibility to bias.  Once our brain has decided that something is real or true, it becomes extremely difficult to convince it otherwise.  Coupled with our need for peer acceptance as a source of confidence in our decision-making, and our likelihood to build false confidence through repetition, the ability to maintain unique ideas faces a seemingly impenetrable barrier.  Religious beliefs, political and economic systems further bolster our “herd mentality,” until we clutch to what everyone around us knows (or believes they know.)  We like to think of truth as a constant not to be interpreted, standing as immutable fact despite our ingrained biases.   Yet truth continues to evade us because those biases are inextricably linked to our biology.

In SEEKING TRUTH, we present an architectural environment with visual and audible cues intended to make viewers feel unsettled or confused. A cacophony of sounds confronts viewers as they traverse the space.  These sounds are derived from Cacophony and Utterances, a participatory piece that we created in memory of David Antin.  It was performed at the Getty Center theater, with hundreds of participants each reading one of five of David’s poems simultaneously.  In seeking clarity, viewers move toward a sculpted granite tablet, in this case quite literally “the light at the end of the tunnel.”  While this sculpture is a metaphor for enlightenment, either divine or intellectual, its truth isn’t what it seems.  Its message disappears through a thin veil of water.  Only when the flow stops, does TRUTH slowly reemerge, but if you are close enough to see this you will also see that the carving itself is blurry.  Blurred writing increases attention and activates the analytical portions of the brain.  It is also at this contemplative location in the piece that we immerse the viewer with moments of auditory clarity.  One overhead sound dome offers fragments of poetry read and created by Jerome Rothenberg, while another sound dome features Eleanor Antin reading the text of Lorem Ipsum, a nonsensical Latin text based on the writings of Cicero, but altered to allow graphic designers to layout text without being distracted by the meaning of the text. This exploration into confusion, clarity and the evasive nature of truth embraces the failings of human perception.

The Klines wish to thank the following for their contributions:

Thomas Albright from the Salk Institute for his studies of human perception which inspired this piece, the J. Paul Getty Archives for providing the sound recording of our Cacophony and Utterances performance, Jane Putch for providing additional sound recordings of the event, David Antin, whose poetry is featured in the performance, the poet Jerome Rothenberg, who read from his book The Mystery of False Attachments, and visual and performance artist and writer Eleanor Antin for a lovely reading of Lorem Ipsum, bringing life to an otherwise dead language.


Featured artists: Marcos Ramírez ERRE, De La Torre Brothers, Siobhan Arnold, David Adey, Xuchi Naungayan Eggleton, Debby and Larry Kline, Mely Barragan, Christopher Puzio, Cesar and Lois Collective and Wendy Maruyama.




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