Chris Bassett

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Prime Evil Forest

Pigment inkjet prints
12 x 18 inches

Photographs from crime scenes in the Angeles National Forest

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NIKE: Los Angeles Defense Area

Pigment inkjet prints
8.5 x 11 inches each

Thirty one photographs depicting the state of NIKE missile sites surrounding Los Angeles nearly four decades after they were decomissioned.

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Bankers and Banks

Pencil on Paper
29 x 22 inches (unframed)

Drawing from the sources used for Two Eras in Mystical Capitalism and Research Archives of the Institute for Mystical Capitalism, these drawings focus on the primary figures and conflicts in the timeline proposed by those works.

Los Angeles Ecstatic Energy Network (partial)

MDF, paint, plastic, photocopies, inkjet print
Dimensions variable

A sandwich board sign was with tour brochures was installed outside of Sea and Space during a summer exhibition. The brochures explained a theory of "ecstatic energy" production and use in an occult practice to drive events in the alternative history described by The Institute for Mystical Capitalism, along with providing driving directions for a tour of major sites in Los Angeles County. Later, a map of an expanded set of sites was exhibited at Los Angeles International Airport to give arriving travelers suggestions for locations to visit while in southern California.

The tours visited distribution locations such as the headquarters of Newhall Land, KB Homes, Countrywide Financial, Dole Foods, and Macerich, as well as accumulation locations at Staples Center, Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, and Dodger Stadium.

Research Archives of the Institute for Mystical Capitalism

table, bookcase, five chairs, MDF, faux leather, books, photocopies
Dimensions Variable

The Research Archives houses a collection of books on topics relevant to the alternative history underpining Mystical Capitalism so that the interested reader may study the primary sources themselves. Over fifty books used in the Institute for Mystical Capitalism's historical and practical research are made available for public browsing and reference. The Research Archives are housed in reproduction 1912 Craftsman furniture with a large library table and seating for five visitors.

Two Eras in Mystical Capitalism
-Henry Ford Beneath Tiger Stadium, 1912
-MC5 Backstage, Grande Ballroom, 1968

Fabric, dolls, plywood, basswood, electric lights, plexiglass, inkjet prints, photocopies
dimensions variable

The two dioramas presented here depict events in an alternative history; twin ceremonies that bookend transitional Mystical Capitalism during its growth from an upstart faction attempting to maintain control by modifying the highly visible restrictive structures of Industrial Capitalism into the dominant Western economic system. A partial timeline of the events and comparative of the analysis of the two rituals in form and meeting is presented via didactic panels and a brochure.

MC5 Ecstatic Energy Production 1966–1972 (incomplete)

Maps, paint marker, ink, adhesive vinyl, plexiglas
Dimensions Variable

MC5 Ecstatic Energy Production 1966-1972 (incomplete) maps selected concert dates of the legendary Detroit band over most of their career in conjunction with conspiracy theories drawn in part from Shea and Wilson's The Illuminatus! Trilogy, forming an early version of the alternative history timeline that I later developed into The Institute for Mystical Capitalism. In the final novel of the trilogy, a giant rock festival in Ingoldstat, Bavaria is designed to draw energy from the crowd in order to reanimate a Nazi legion buried at the bottom of a lake to do the bidding of The Illuminati.

Given that the safest way for any modern day secret society to control the world would be through economic manipulation rather than military domination, a primary resource for such control would have to be crowd energies from large spectacles. Events to draw the crowd energies would have to be orchestrated in such a manner as to not attract attention from competing factions which understood the techniques used. The dominant faction would likely already be in control of established events (professional sports, city or state theatre and orchestral groups, and so on), leaving rising factions to create their own events. This inevitably would lead to the rise of the countercultural ballroom circuit and music festivals. This project tracks one influential segment of that circuit through the filter of one band's history to illustrate the larger system at work.

The above images are from the 2007 installation in the UCLA New Wight Gallery, Los Angeles. A web-based version was commissioned in 2007, completed 2008 as part of the MAPPING project and may be viewed at

The Institute for Mystical Captialism

2006 – 2011

The Institute for Mystical Capitalism served as a catch-all for a number of projects based on a conspiracy theory-driven alternative history timeline. Several tri-fold brochures were produced as part of the series of projects, some along with sculptures and other as stand-alone pieces. They are collected here:

Ceremony for Immanentization of the New Era

Los Angeles Ecstatic Energy Network

Minerval Reading Society

Two Episodes in the New Era of Mystical Capitalism

UCLA Exhibition of the Research Archives

Between The Jams


This video posits that in the alternative history timeline of The Institute for Mystical Capitalism, the following is (likely) true:

In October 1968, the MC5 played the Grande Ballroom in Detroit. The recording of this show would be released as their first full-length recording, Kick Out the Jams. More than just a document of a rock show, the recording clearly documents a strike in the emerging consolidation of power by the young Mystical Capitalist bloc. No longer content to share power, the growing faction wanted to run the last Industrial Capitalists out. Keeping with the strategy established by Henry Ford in 1912 at Navin Field, the crowd energy from a public spectacle was channeled to power the occult ceremonies necessary to finish the consolidation. A rock show rather than a sporting event was used as it better fit the language of the emerging leadership and their refutation of past leaders and outdated methods of control.

To increase the energy output of the crowd, Brother J.C. Crawford, the MC5's spiritual adviser, introduced the band and spoke between some songs. This video is an attempt to recreate those moments and unlock the power inherent in the liturgical ritual of Kick Out the Jams in order to understand the intricacies of Mystical Capitalism's history.


Ascendancy of the Illuminati Ducatisti

Cardboard, ink, MDF, chalk dust, banner, books
Dimensions Variable

Ascendancy of the Illuminati Ducatisti mimics retail merchandising strategies to present cardboard replicas of two Ducati motorcycles representing the company's vehicular history from 1998 to 2005. The installation references ritual spaces as well and a book details the alternative history of Ducati and the Ducati Owners Group as an arm of the mystical Illuminati.

Wild In the Streets


Imagine if The Wild One met The Wild Bunch and they had a fight. Then set it in an abandoned high desert commune and you've pretty much got this video.


The Payoff

Dimensions Variable

The Payoff was a motion capture dance-based videogame. Players were competing to win a dance contest in order to pay an "independent promoter" to get a radio station to play their new song after being let gofrom their record label. Hats and wristbands were given away to players until the supply ran out.

Programming was in Max/MSP/Jitter.

Sid and Nancy and Me

two excerpts shown

At the simplest level, Sid and Nancy and Me functions as a disruption of seamless cinematic narrative, turning the original almost two hour long MGM feature into sixty minutes of hero identification. Speed and visual distortions alter the viewing experience and refute the easy watching characteristic of mainstream film.

the lostlove project


The lostlove project operated from 2001 until 2010, when the database code finally ceased operating after nearly a decade of server migrations and software upgrades. It now exists as a read-only archive of the 2924 stories that were submitted by participants. In 2001, I described this piece as follows:

losing at love is an experience everyone has gone through to some degree. the loves that we lose are the ones that we remember most vividly and for the longest. they also make the most interesting love stories. the lostlove project aims to compile stories about lost love. users enter stories which are then linked by the lostlove engine to create a metanarrative of a relationship.

View the archive of the lostlove project

All work © Chris Bassett 2001 – 2013