Marfa Dialogues


April 13, 2018

Organized by Timothy Morton and Laura Copelin
Opening Reception April 13, 2018

Ballroom Marfa is pleased to announce Hyperobjects, a group exhibition co-organized by philosopher and Rice University professor Timothy Morton and Ballroom Marfa Director & Curator Laura Copelin, engaging ideas from Morton’s theory to confront the overwhelming scale of today’s ecological crisis.

The exhibition features installations from the Center for Land Use Interpretation, Megan May Daalder, Tara Donovan, Nance Klehm, Postcommodity, Emilija Škarnulyte, and Sissel Marie Tonn with Jonathan Reus, as well as objects and loans from David Brooks, the Center for Big Bend Studies, Rafa Esparza, Raviv Ganchrow, Paul Johnson, Candice Lin, the Long Now Foundation, Iván Navarro, the Sul Ross Herbarium, the Rio Grande Research Center, Oscar Santillán, and The University of Texas at Austin McDonald Observatory.

Morton asks: Where are we? Marfa, Texas, the USA, Earth…? When are we? This week? This year? Our lifetime? The time of capitalism? The time of humans on Earth? And, what’s more, who are we? Humans? What on Earth is humankind? Can we say we in a way that isn’t misogynistic or racist—or speciesist? How do we speak our agency in the biosphere?

In his 2013 book, Hyperobjects: Philosophy and Ecology After the End of the World, Morton defines hyperobjects as entities that are bewilderingly huge—global warming, plastic in the ocean, nuclear waste—and seemingly incomprehensible. Morton argues that hyperobjects create an ecological awareness far beyond normal human comprehension. To understand a hyperobject, we must transform the way we see and experience the universe. In line with this idea, the exhibition seeks to create encounters with artworks and non-art objects that de-center and expand the scale of human perception.

Via aesthetics, direct sensory experience, speculative explorations, and dramatic fluctuations in scale, the artists in Hyperobjects reflect various facets of this monumental theory. To this end, Tara Donovan realizes a site-specific iteration of Untitled (Plastic Cups), where she applies sculptural process to the fundamental properties of an object, in this case a plastic cup, at a scale that transforms the cup into something else entirely.

Emilija Škarnulyte’s immersive video installation depicts neutrino detectors and nuclear submarines from the perspective of an anthropologist from the distant future. Megan May Daalder’s Mirrorbox is a wearable double helmet invented by the artist to reflect and combine the facial features of participants, breaking down perceived boundaries between self and other.

Sissel Marie Tonn installs a new configuration of her Intimate Earthquake Archive, allowing visitors to wear vests that transmit seismic data from man-made earthquakes caused by gas drilling. Nance Klehm digs holes in Ballroom’s courtyard: burrowing, creating heaps, analyzing soil, cataloging detritus, and giving visitors an opportunity to be physically immersed in earth.

The artist collective Postcommodity considers the US/Mexico border with a sound installation that dramatizes the government’s co-opting of myth, language, and voice to entrap migrants moving across the landscape. Dedicated to understanding human interactions with the land’s surface in the USA, the Center for Land Use Interpretation (CLUI) researches and maps phenomena across the West Texas landscape.

Copelin and Morton have also included objects sourced from the botanical, geological and anthropological records local to Marfa and the Trans-Pecos region, loaned by academic partners at the University of Texas at Austin and multiple departments at Sul Ross State University including: the Center for Big Bend Studies, the Rio Grande Research Center, and the Sul Ross Herbarium. Distributed among these specimens and artifacts are artworks and objects from David Brooks, Rafa Esparza, Raviv Ganchrow, Paul Johnson, Candice Lin, the Long Now Foundation, Iván Navarro, and Oscar Santillán.

Ballroom Marfa is collaborating with local, regional, and national research organizations on a slate of supplementary programs that respond to the exhibition and connect participants to the singular ecology of the Trans-Pecos. Project partners include the Borderlands Research Institute, Rice University’s Center for Energy & Environmental Research in the Human Sciences and The Nature Conservancy.

A catalogue, produced in conjunction with the exhibition, will include contributions from Olafur Eliasson, Kathelin Gray, Morton, Ben Rivers, Kim Stanley Robinson, Mark von Schlegell, the artists in the exhibition, and more to be announced.

    Hyperobjects is made possible by the generous support of the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts; Brown Foundation Inc.; City of Marfa; Creative Industries Fund NL; Fairfax Dorn & Marc Glimcher; Kristina Van Dyke & Jeff Fort; Paul Kasmin Gallery, New York; Virginia Lebermann & Family; Melony & Adam Lewis; George S. Loening; National Endowment for the Arts; PACE Gallery; Stroom Den Haag; Texas Commission on the Arts; the Ballroom Marfa Board of Trustees; and Ballroom Marfa members.

    In kind support provided by Big Bend Brewing Co., The Capri, Hotel Saint George, SAVED Wines, Thunderbird Hotel, and Tito’s Handmade Vodka.

    Special thanks to Lalo Baeza; Mark Blount; Roger Boren; Dominic Boyer; The Big Bend Sentinel; Abby Boyd; Bureau of Economic Geology at The University of Texas at Austin; Joe Cashiola; Ross Cashiola; Vicente Celis; Chinati Foundation; Andy Cloud; Tim Crowley; Cuca Flores; Lina Dib; Dixon Water Foundation; Molly Dunton; David Fenster; Earthworks; JD Garcia; Deirde Hisler; Judd Foundation; David Keller; Elsa Longhauser; Minerva Lopez; Marfa Public Radio; Alex Marks; Jeff Matheis; Mexican Summer; Joe Mussey; Elise Pepple; Denis Perez; Carolyn Porter; Robert Potts; Michael & Shirley Powell; Charlotte Reemts; Gory Smelley; Laura Thoms; Elaine Trevorrow; Kevin Urbancyzk; Bonnie Warnock; and Sharon Wilson.

    Abril 13, 2018

    Ballroom Marfa se encuentra en la fase de investigación para Hyperobjects, una exhibición programada para la primavera 2018. El proyecto es co-organizado por el Dr. Timothy Morton y la curadora de Ballroom Laura Copelin. Hyperobjects toma su nombre y principios de organización de el libro de Morton del 2013. En los escritos de Morton, los hyperobjetos son ‘entidades que han sido tan masivamente distribuidas en el tiempo y espacio que trascienden en la especificad espacio-temporal, como el calentamiento global, la espuma de polietileno, y el plutonio radioactivo.’ Esta exhibición usa las ideas de Morton de la teoría ecológica la cual confronta con una abrumadora escala de la crisis ecológica del hoy por hoy. El proyecto incluye objetos en instalaciones de el mundo de arte contemporáneo así como objetos extraídos de el ámbito local. Hyperobjects busca encontrar objetos que precipiten sueños de nuevos futuros.

    Morton y Copelin seleccionaran artistas los cuales su trabajo demuestra la habilidad de encaminar al publico en una experiencia directa con los hyperobjetos. Los artistas que estan bajo consideración varían desde establecidos a emergentes. Incluyendo a Jae Rhim Lee, Rachel Rose, Emilija Škarnulytė, y Tara Donovan, entre otros. Así como el fenómeno del cambio climático y la biosfera los cuales no caben en configuraciones regulares de espacio de exhibición, los curadores comisionaran trabajo para Hyperobjects que es: experimental, altamente inmersivo, fluctuante en escala y volumen y el cual incorpora objetos no-artísticos.

    Timothy Morton es la cabecilla de Ingles del Rita Shea Guffey en la Universidad Rice. Impartio las conferencias Wellek en teoria en el 2014 y ha colaborado con Björk , Haim Steinbach y Olafur Eliasson. Es el autor de Hyperobjets: Philosophy and Ecology after the End of the World (Minnesota, 2013) Dark Ecology: For a Logic of Future Coexistence (Columbia, 2016), Nothing: Three Inquiries in Buddhism (Chicago, 2015), Realist Magic: Objects, Ontology, Casuality (Open Humanities, 2013), The Ecological Thought (Harvard, 2010), Ecology without Nature: Rethinking Environmental Aesthetics (Harvard, 2007), ocho libros mas y 160 ensayos en filosofia, ecologia, literature, musica, arte, arquitectura, diseño y comida. Escribe blogs regularmente en