30 Nov

“Welcome to the Future” meets “Soundtrack for an Exhibition”

On Thursday, November 20, I had the opportunity to attend the Locust Project’s Art on the Move presentation with Curator Dominic Molon in conversation with Vancouver-based artist Ron Terada on the subject of his Soundtrack for an Exhibition.

The exhibition turned out to be Daniel Arsham’s “Welcome to the Future.”  To say that I was surprised to view the space is an understatement.  At home my partner and I are faced with the need to dig a small hole in the basement floor to install a sump pump backup in case of springtime flooding. On the domestic level, knocking out a bit of cement is a daunting prospect.  At the Gallery entrance, the visitor is confronted by large chunks of cement with emerging re-bar. In shades of grey and white, these artifacts set the stage for the viewing of ruins, for the uncovering of what lies behind the curtain.

Within the gallery space, there is a mind-boggling circular hole in the floor. Filling the circular hole below the concrete level, and hinting at what might lie beneath the remaining cement foundation of the structure, is a glut of constructed objects or real portions of redundant technologies. Tools and toys; a myriad of bits and pieces of film reels, electronic keyboards, once-cherished analogue still cameras, musical instruments, phones and etcetera, fill the gap. The objects lie in piles like the bones of a past civilization. All are presented in shades of grey and white as if a cataclysmic dust had previously settled over these exposed ruins, burying them. If this sounds like an elaborate, overtly descriptive metaphor, it surely is. In the middle of the circular hole is a supporting pole surrounded by a small circle of cement. This small remainder, of the floor that was, invites viewing the entire work as a defunct turntable, and an exhibition to accompany Terada’s Soundtrack for an Exhibition. Maybe the two artists have created the perfect roundabout for a society built on endless growth and accompanying redundancy.

Terada’s bold move to create a soundtrack pressed onto vinyl without permissions from the artists, or insomniac copyright lawyers is puzzling in view of tightening of copyright infringement regulations over the past ten years. The discussion about music and vinyl seemed to pull the attention of audience in the direction of Arsham’s installation to the left of the assembled audience. The hole in the floor with the post in the middle, mimicking outdated and more recently, retro turntable technology rested a few feet below Terada’s wall projection of records on a turntable and music credits.

If the presentation of both works fits and does not fit within the confines of contemporary marketing, the two set up a challenge to memorials of recent pasts. Welcome to the Future is an impressive cliché on cultural turnover, a time capsule, or an ossuary.  Maybe the next stage would be to invite visitors to contribute an object to the space below the floor of a building imminently destined for destruction. The former Miami Herald headquarters in downtown Miami might have filled the bill.

Pairing Terada’s Soundtrack for an Exhibitionwith Arsham’sWelcome to the Future, positions the artists to provide a metaphor for a larger turntable on the Miami landscape.  During the exhibition, taxis, circling in the city display song title’s from Terada’s mix. This public intervention, paired with Arsham’s installation can be imagined to travel wider concentric movements that pivot around that post inside the gallery, creating expanded grooves in Miami’s vinyl.

 

Image: Left: Daniel Arsham “Welcome to the Future”, right: Ron Tarada “Soundtrack for an Exhibition”
Locust Projects:3852 North Miami Avenue, Miami, Florida
http://www.locustprojects.org/

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About Valerie LeBlanc

Originally from Halifax, Nova Scotia, pluri-­disciplinary artist and writer Valerie LeBlanc has worked in Canada, the United States, Europe, and Australia. Her creations travel between poetry, performance, visual and written theory. Valerie LeBlanc has been creating video poetry since the mid 1980’s, and is the creator of the MediaPackBoard (MPB), portable screening / performance device. In the fall of 2012, she published her play The Raft, through Basic Bruegel Editions.

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