When Max and JJ from Immediate Medium asked me to curate The Future At The End of the World with them, I jumped at the chance. Not just because Immediate Medium is a great company, but because I also loved the resonance of the idea. What better site to explore the shifting modes of perception and the drastic transformations in our experience of time and space than the largely abandoned administrative facilities of the James A. Farley Post Office and future home of Moynihan Station? There is something both noble and tragic about the twilight era of a grand edifice dedicated to the expeditious transport of letters and packages -- physical objects -- across geographies, from one person to another. And something beautifully ironic that it is becoming a train station, dedicated to the transport of people expeditiously across geography.
In the Information Age we are able to communicate immediately with each other in "real time," all the time. And what a strange phrase, "real time" as if there is any other kind of time? The post office by definition embodies a slower mode of communication, but one that demands thought, reflection and insight. As we move from one era to another, as we move more quickly but perhaps with less depth, what do we gain and what do we lose? This is the question we brought to the artists curated into the project: "What does the future look like here at the end of the world?"
More of Max Dana's photos of installation process available here.
As a curator, my vision of the future is one where traditional notions of discipline and media-specificity vanish, where collaborative creation is commonplace, where the conditions of the digital age inform practice and aesthetics -- algorithms influence our experiences, digital processing mediates our senses, we are always aware but never fully cognizant of the vast, shifting, unimaginable ecology of data and disembodied presence hovering just below the surface of our everyday lives. And through it all we strive to remember what it is to be human even as we redefine it. We persist in information overload, embodied and fragile, repositories of memory, ever caught between sensation and cognition.
The artists in this exhibition, this performance installation, reflect a wide variety of practices, perspectives and career stages. From the movement-based explorations of Vanessa Anspaugh and The Bureau for the Future of Choreography, to the ever-shifting hybrid visual/audio/data visualization work of Blake Carrington and the imaginative object theater of David Commander, all of the artists have given these questions great consideration and have made singularly fascinating, compelling works of time-based art. I hope you will join us for this rare and extraordinary experience.
As R.E.M. so presciently noted way back in 1987, "It's the end of the world as we know it, and I feel fine." But then again, isn't it always the end of the world as we know it? The future becomes the present becomes the past becomes a memory and fades -- and until we learn to move in multiple directions on the time/space continuum that is pretty much the way it's going to go. But sometimes there is a tear in the fabric of the universe, a hole opens in the time/space continuum and we get a hint of what it would be able to look at things in more than one direction. And if there is anywhere this is most likely to happen, it is a post office in transition in midtown New York.
The Future At The End Of The World
A Group Performance at the James A. Farley Post Office
Future Home of Moynihan Station
421 8th Avenue at 31st Street
(enter on 31st near 8th Ave.)
FEATURING: Vanessa Anspaugh / The Royal Osiris Karaoke Ensemble (Tei Blow + Sean McElroy) / The Bureau for the Future of Choreography / Blake Carrington / David Commander / David Conison + Co. / Immediate Medium / Ouroboros (Lisa Clair + Sergei Tcherepnin) / Rob Ramirez / Jillian Sweeney + Jeffrey Cranor
CURATED BY Andrew Horwitz
CONCEIVED AND PRODUCED BY Immediate Medium
DECEMBER 10-12/ 8pm show / $15 tickets
Andrew Horwitz is an NYC-based writer and curator. He is the founder and publisher of Culturebot.org, the foremost online resource and platform for discourse on contemporary performance: dance, theater, live art and visual art performance. He currently works at the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council as curator of The River To River Festival.