Nothing much happens in "m.A.A.d.," Kahlil Joseph's double-screen video installation at the Museum of Contemporary Art. Unexpectedly, its open-ended ordinariness is among the work's primary advantages.
Women sit under hairdryers at the beauty parlor. Kids splash in a swimming pool. Drinks are served at a bar.
A panhandler at a neighborhood intersection flags down a car. Friends go for a joy ride in a convertible, destination unnecessary. Traffic streams along the freeway, shot from the aerial viewpoint of a drone.
A high school marching band practices its routine.
Routine is the operative word. A casual urban portrait of Los Angeles, photographed mostly but not exclusively in and around Compton, the two videos play on a synchronized loop.
The show was organized by curator Helen Molesworth. Projected onto juxtaposed screens arranged in an enveloping wedge, the work crosses the format of a music video with a short film (about 15 minutes in duration).
“m.A.A.d.” was commissioned by rapper
Joseph’s everyday imagery is sporadically interrupted by abrupt flashes -- a man on horseback wildly galloping down a city street, a historical photograph of a gruesome lynching, home movies timestamped from the weeks before the explosive verdict in the
"m.A.A.d." is 15 minutes of visual verse condensed from more than seven hours of video footage. Joseph burrows inside the rhythms of a place to describe it with amplitude and tenderness. The concentrated result is a mesmerizing hip-hop tone-poem, heartfelt and deeply moving.
Museum of Contemporary Art, 250 S. Grand Ave., (213) 621-2766, through Aug. 16. Closed Tuesdays and Wednesdays. www.moca.org