The Present is the Form of All Life: The Time Capsules of Ant Farm and LST
Co-curated with Gabriel Florenz
This exhibition explores the time capsule projects of seminal media art and architecture group Ant Farm and their contemporary successors, LST. Tracing the time capsule’s evolution from analog archive to digital database, the exhibition examines the mutable nature of time perception, rapidly accelerating media obsolescence, and our shifting cultural attitudes toward preservation and privacy.
Named for a quote by the totalitarian machine brain in the 1965 sci-fi noir epic Alphaville, The Present is the Form of All Life examines aspects of nostalgia, obsolescence, and ephemerality as forms of resistance against stagnation in this array of works about time. The exhibition presents a chronology of the time capsule artworks created by Ant Farm from 1969 to 1975 alongside a custom inflatable structure that will fill the entire cathedral hall at Pioneer Works encasing the Ant Farm Media Van v. 08 [Time Capsule] (2008-2016), a contemporary interactive media sculpture created by LST, like a ship inside an enormous bottle.
Presented alongside archival works, LST’s Ant Farm Media Van v.08 [Time Capsule] re-envisions Ant Farm’s 1971 Media Van, a functional vehicle outfitted with video production and editing equipment. In 1970, Ant Farm drove Media Van cross-country for a series of networked performances/documentary productions called the Truck Stop Network. LST’s Ant Farm Media Van v.08 [Time Capsule] functions as a time capsule itself, containing looped archival video footage from the Truck Stop Network tour. It also holds a device called a HUQQUH, an interactive, crowd-sourced, digital time capsule data collection mechanism.
The exhibition at Pioneer Works also included a variety of concurrent programming, including concerts by MSHR, Tara Jane O'Neil, Ami Dang, and Lower Dens. With Clocktower Radio, we produced a mobile audio guide. With architect Jesse Seegers, we presented a 6 week class in DIY inflatables construction.
More information on the exhibition on the Pioneer Works site.
September - October, 2016 at Pioneer Works.
This project was made possible with a generous grant from NEA Art Works.