LAAA/Gallery 825 Presents
THE DEAD MOMMA DATABASE - by Arthur Pembleton
October 15 - November 12, 2005
Opening Reception: Saturday, October 15, 5pm – 8pm

Gallery 825 Bergamot Annex
2525 Michigan Avenue, E-2, Santa Monica, CA 90404
(310) 652-8272, fax (310) 652-9251
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Gallery Hours -Tuesday - Friday, 10 am – 6 pm, Saturdays 11 am – 6 pm

The Dead Momma Database (DMDB) is an interactive computer and video installation documenting the six months Arthur Pembleton shared with his deceased mother’s ashes prior to their interment.  

In March 2001, Arthur Pembleton received a “Sorry We Missed You” notice from the US Post Office.  Waiting for him was a plain brown parcel marked, “Pembleton” - the urn of ashes of his mother Phyllis who had died two weeks previously in another city.

Not having the least idea of what to do with the urn of his mother’s ashes until their internment in an East Coast cemetery, he ended up carrying the urn around with him everywhere he went – to museums, galleries, restaurants, sailing, on a road trip from Chicago to L.A. - documenting their time together with a small film camera.  He had never felt particularly close to his mother while she was alive, but after six months, 227 rolls of film, and the death of his father-in-law, what had started as a joke became a complex personal journey.

Take 5,000 photographs, a year of cataloguing, manipulating, editing video and stills, an entire crew to program, assemble and execute the final product, and you have The Dead Momma Database exhibition, a darkly humorous composite of a relationship that spans two lifetimes.

At the exhibition there will be two work stations for visitors to access the DMDB images: randomly, hierarchically by category, linearly via a digital video, or through the game, “Help Momma Find Her Grave.”  

Visitors can have their photograph taken with Momma, or, for an additional fee, with Momma and the artist.  They can also bring the DMDB home with them by purchasing a limited-edition DMDB urn brimming with DMDB collectibles, including a DVD of the database and a Lucite model of the urn containing a tablespoon of Momma, delivered in a maroon velvet bag.

Los Angeles-based digital artist Arthur Pembleton began his artistic career in New York City.  After studying at the University of California Los Angeles and Chouinard Art Institute, he moved to New York City where he worked as an assistant to well-known fashion, commercial and celebrity portrait photographer Bert Stern, and then as a director/cameraman of national television commercials.  In 1990, he returned to Los Angeles and renewed his connection with photography and in the last five years he has shifted his focus to digital video.  “The Dead Momma Database” is the artist’s first solo, multimedia exhibition.

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