The Swallows May 16 – June 27, 2014
Hallwalls Contemporary Art Center, Buffalo, NY
A multi-media project about the geological formation, man-made induction and psychological import of sinkholes. The exhibition is imagined as an idiosyncratic temporary sinkhole museum.
Sinkholes are thieves, events that literally "take place.”1 Unintentional aspirant to the conditions of cinema, a sinkhole is fundamentally an edit in the landscape. Terrestrial features, intimating an incremental, geological time, they can also be sudden, cataclysmic events. As with caves, sinkholes are living organisms, with “bloodstreams and respiratory systems, infections and infestations. They take in matter, digest it, and flush it slowly through their system.”2
Sinkholes are naturally formed when underground karst landscapes are eroded by percolating water, cave subsidence or a lowering water table. They can also be man-made: occurring as a result of collapsed mines, groundwater pumping, construction projects, engineering works, sewer pipe collapse, water main breaks and other land use practices. Quite often erosion is unseen until the roof of an underground cavern suddenly buckles. Such events abruptly swallow homes, cattle, cars, farm machinery, businesses, oil derricks, barges, pets and people. Sinkholes have a direct, if ominous, relationship to the built world.
Swallows sought to address the intersection of these alternately ritualized, infrastructural and emergency responses to sinkholes via a collection of displays. The speculative metaphysical terror of an expanding hole coexisted alongside a cataloging of landforms. The resulting exhibition was a gathering of collected and artist-generated ephemera that crystallized around the notion of sinkhole. Models, drawings, paintings, slides, monotypes, video and large wall texts provided a physical accounting of natural phenomena, as well as an allegorical metaphysics.
1. Snow, Michael. “It is precise that events ‘take place’.”↩ 2 Bilger, Burkhart. “In Deep,” The New Yorker. April 21, 2014↩
Hxy = xis a hole in (or through)y
WE WRITE“Hx”FOR“x is a hole” SINCE EVERY HOLE IS ONTOLOGICALLY DEPENDENT ON ITS HOST,
BEING A HOLE IS DEFINED AS BEING A HOLE IN (OR THROUGH) SOMETHING.
THE HOST OF A HOLE IS NOT A HOLE Hxy → ⌉Hy
A HOLE CANNOT HOST ITS OWN HOST Hxy→ ⌉Hyx
A HOLE CANNOT HOST ITSELF ⌉Hxx
HOLES DO NOT HAVE HOLES: THEY CANNOT HOST ONE ANOTHER Hx → ⌉∃yHyx
HOLES CANNOT BE THE ONLY THINGS AROUND ∃xHx→ ∃x→ ⌉Hx
(per R. Casati and A. Varzi)
Baltimore Landslide video by Nick Reyes
Western Kentucky University Quadrotor Footage of Corvette Museum
8/21/13 Slough-In Bayou Corne, Assumption Parish, Louisiana; posted by assumptionla
DepthX Sonar Model video by Nathaniel Fairfield
Review by Chris Stults, ARTFORUM, October 2014 pdf