2017 – The Fourth World / BCF – The Institute for Art and Olfaction

Curator: Leonardo Bravo, for Big City Forum
Artists: Mercedes Dorame, Sonja Gerdes, Lindsay August-Salazar, Galia Linn, Karen Lofgren, Alison O’Daniel, Arden Surdam
Dates: September, 2017

Public programs to be announced.



4thworld“When the holy people created the world they gave it a metaphysical center, the Encircled Mountain, which reached down into the depths of space and time to the First World, the Red World, which was without light and without people. The deities of this world were twelve black insects and bats. In the Second, Blue World, the blue birds, swallows, and jays ruled. In the Third, Yellow World, the grasshoppers were in charge. Only in the present Fourth, or White World, was there light and people, as well the colors of the preceding world. The different worlds made by the Holy People are located in what we now call the Southwest. Encircled Mountain is too vast and too powerful to be visible; it spans eons of time and is itself endless and ageless, reaching down to the very beginning and stretching upwards into the unimaginable and unknowable worlds of the future.”

– Norman Bancroft Hunt, “Shamanism in North America”

Leonardo Bravo and Big City Forum present “The Fourth World” an exhibition that aims to explore and consider the perspectives of artists that occupy a space of criticality and response to issues related to inter subjectivity and positionality. These artists question and challenge the idea of the Subject and of the very notion of an objective existence by exploring the role of the physical body, ritual, mythology, language, and the natural and cultural world. They approach intersubjectivity as a domain of inquiry that spans the entire scope of human experience. They flow above boundaries, under surfaces, around obstacles, and inhabit the spaces in-between. Their work reverberates with energies and frequencies that can be defined as exceptionally rich and layered, transcending fixed notions of identity, language, and place.


Participating artists:

Mercedes Dorame – Website
Sonja Gerdes – Website
Lindsay August-Salazar – Website
Galia Linn – Website
Karen Lofgren – Website
Alison O’Daniel – Website
Arden Surdam – Website




BCF_Logo_BW_Blog_RevisedBig City Forum (BCF) is a curatorial and social practice platform founded by Los Angeles based artist, educator, and activist Leonardo Bravo. Through interdisciplinary approaches across design, architecture, and the arts, it provides an ongoing exploration of the intersections between these creative disciplines and new ways of knowledge making within the context of public space and personal and collective change. Big City Forum has received support from the National Endowment for the Arts, the California Arts Council, the Social Practice Art Foundation (SPART), and the Creative Economic Development Fund of the City of Los Angeles.

Learn more at Big City Forum