Sunday, February 23, 2014

Houston in the Blind

RAQs Media Collective, Photograph shown during a lecture
Glassell School of Art, Houston

February 22, 2014
Houston, TX

One of the three members of RAQs Media Collective, a trio of art curators and polemicists, opened the lecture today mentioning a quote from the movie Gravity, "Houston in the Blind."  It means, "Houston, we can't hear you, but if you can hear us..." [bxA]

As the lights dimmed in the auditorium, he said he wouldn't know if the work reached us unless we ask questions at the end.  People need to be around other people for art to happen.  Exhibitions are waiting for us to show up, just like the Cy Twombly Gallery at the Menil was there today, waiting for the three of them. 

Kairn, my academic friend with whom I traveled to Nigeria last summer, invited me because the RAQs trio is here to scope out Houston with focus on the oil industry, somehow or other.  At the end of the lecture they mentioned something about hydrocarbons being the memory of life. 

In the interest of time (no pun intended) and at risk of sounding like a wanker, here's a quote from an article describing what's going on with the clock in the original exhibit:

Escapement was an attempt to pass comment on a very contemporary form of existential crisis – one familiar to BlackBerry-obsessed, airport-bound, biennial addicts – that would feel more at home in a 1990s anthropology reader than in a commercial art gallery and that bears scant relationship to most people’s lives. Nicolas Bourriaud’s recent ‘Altermodern’ manifesto also explored similar themes, as he set out his vision of cultural hybridization, perpetual travel and a new universalism, each a manifestation of contemporary globalization, to him signalling the end of Postmodernism. Could the clocks in Escapement ironically symbolize Postmodernism’s own 12-step recovery programme? As the clocks strike ‘epiphany’ (if you’ve managed to make it through the heart-racing 12 hours that preceded this), the enlightenment of altermodernity is presumably attained.