SF Chronicle Article on Visiting Lecturer & Facilities Coordinator in Photography Zachary Norman's Oakland exhibition Echo, Decoy, Limit

Author: Kimberly Chun, SFGate

Amid the daily proliferation of images online, Everything Is Collective, a collaboration of Los Angeles artist Aaron Hegert and Chicago artists Jason Lukas and Zachary Norman, takes a somewhat different tack: The artists make photographs that respond to one another. The resulting images and installations are on exhibit in “Echo Decoy Limit” at Royal NoneSuch Gallery.

“Everything Is is very conversational and, of course, working in a more fine art context and more conceptual. Their process is based on iteration and collaboration, and it’s very playful,” explains Christina Wiles, the show’s curator.

The Oakland resident and former editor of Once Magazine sees the strategy of the collective — whose publication “Deliberate Operations #3 [Full Empty]” was shortlisted for the Anamorphosis Prize and added to the MOMA Library collection — as “reflective of how mass culture and contemporary image culture works now.”

“Online, there are millions of images exchanged every day at a super-fast rate, people making images based on other images,” Wiles says.

The collective’s process began with a list of words — including “echo,” “decoy” and “limit” — pulled from an old military operations handbook. Working separately on those themes, the artists shared their photos with each other and made new images based on what they saw.

The many final photographs, Wiles says, have a “vaguely scientific look. Then when you look at them, they don’t give you scientific answers. There’s a sense of the magical. Instead of answering questions, it leaves viewers with a sense of wonder.”

— Kimberly Chun

Echo Decoy Limit: Opening reception 7-10 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 9. Artist talk and conversation 6:30 p.m. Jan. 23. Gallery hours 1-4 p.m. Saturdays-Sundays and by appointment. Through Feb. 14. Royal NoneSuch Gallery, 4231 Telegraph Ave., Oakland. www.royalnonesuchgallery.com.