October – November, 2010
curated by Hayley A. Silverman
The first fortress started with a wall. Behind that wall, survivalists sat prepared for future disruptions, accidents, disasters—building structures that would help them endure, or just simply disappear. Contemporary interior spaces—malls, fluorescent-lit schools, art galleries—have undergone what Virilio sees as a smoothing process, with the elevator succeeding the stairway. This erosion of resistance dampens the tactile link between people and their surroundings.
Strength arises from disequilibrium. A Greek hilltop village has produced growing numbers of centenarians due to their working on slanted surface; the steep grade of their surroundings adds a measure of tension to all aspects of daily life. Resistance builds future resistance. Physical difficulty heightens our senses and activates our sense of agency. It places us in movement and teaches us about the nature of our bodies, which are always in the process of restructuring themselves.
The fortress, among other military earthworks, was left behind as a reminder of ancient warfare. Amid dense brush, spoiled building materials, animals forming back into packs, what canned products will still taste good? Are we in control of what we produce?
The art object will slowly recede into the Earth, creating a strange footprint, while the Earth object resurfaces, changed.
The artifacts and ideas within these walls, in this show, reflect potential collisions and the unknowable nature of the future. These artists expand the field of the unknown by projecting their purpose toward a specific future—drawing maps, sending out signals, and demarcating passages from their personal sites of experience.
To occupy one’s own agency is to take control of one’s alienation. To be an artist is to be in charge of one’s life.
In case of fire, plague, wreckage-— the artwork will need to relocate to higher ground