Change Is Good, Right?

Change Is In The Making

Sitting out my Saturn transits – and lucky me had two weird ones in a row! – I wondered if I was ever going to be able to break out and be me again in this lifetime. My life had become a constant search for lunch money, job rejections, and trying to maintain my sanity. There was no travel. No art. My creativity existed mostly in my mind and at the very most, on my laptop and in a sketchbook that I carry around with me. I felt like the universe was stripping me down to the barest of human essentials. For better or worse, I have spent the last five or six years or so stripping myself down to become the purest form of me.

A year ago on my birthday, I proclaimed that I wanted to spend the next decade traveling. I spent the whole following year visualizing it and on my latest birthday I found the means to make those first steps happen.

I knew that a shift was on the horizon. Over the past six months or so, there was a feeling in the air that only I could feel. I would tell people that I felt the change, the shift, like static. Sometimes I felt like I was getting bumped into the future, even though the future wasn’t quite ready for me yet. No one believed me. I started telling my friends earlier in the year that I would be making some changes – getting a new van, traveling some more, making more of my own work – and they would shake their heads and play along.

I knew it was coming.

When the shift arrived, even though I was prepared for it, it was overwhelming. It still is, but I’m getting used to it.

Uranus moved into Taurus on May 15, where it will stay until my birthday in 2026. That may mean nothing to you. Uranus transits usually mean nothing to most people, especially to those who think that astrology is just a bunch of hooey. But I’ve been waiting my whole life for this one. This transit signifies a freeing up of sorts, it’s a change maker for folks like me.

Where I have been stuck, I am now free. At least somewhat.

The first thing that happened after May 15th was my purchase of a new van. I love my little blue Escape Pod, but she can no longer take me where I need to go. She needs more work and restoration than I can afford right now, and it was less expensive to just go ahead and purchase a new machine. So I did.

I’m currently outfitting the as of yet unnamed monster van into a living space. All the neighbors have been around to peer in on my progress. I’m becoming less overwhelmed with the project and feeling more creative with the possibilities of what the future might hold.

Marfa Dialogues/Houston

Sarah Rara, still from The Pollinators, 2014. Video with sound. 65 minutes. Sound by Luke Fischbeck. Courtesy of the artist.
Sarah Rara, still from The Pollinators, 2014. Video with sound. 65 minutes. Sound by Luke Fischbeck. Courtesy of the artist.

Ballroom Marfa, FotoFest International and the Public Concern Foundation will bring Marfa Dialogues to Houston, Texas March 24-26, 2016 as part of the FotoFest 2016 Biennial. Under consideration will be the scale of climate disruption from the hyperlocal to the hyperobject. Events will be presented at The Menil Collection, Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, and the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.

Marfa Dialogues/Houston begins Thursday evening, March 24 at 7pm, at the Menil Collection with a keynote address by Rev. Lennox Yearwood, Jr., the President and CEO of the Hip Hop Caucus. As a minister and community activist, Rev Yearwood is one of the most prominent national figures working to involve communities of color in climate activism and green economy solutions.

This will be followed by a performance from Lucky Dragons, an experimental music group from Los Angeles whose artistic practice aims to create a better understanding of existing ecologies through workshops, publications, and recordings. This site-specific performance will feature a collaboration with Houston-based vocalists, arranged alongside an array of environmental field recordings and live electronics; a composition that lyrically speaks to biodiversity, human ecological impact and climate change as a loss of complexity in a moment of transition.

Programming on Friday, March 25 begins at 6:30pm at the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston. The evening of conversation will include a panel organized around the concept of “Imaging Futures”, which will consider macro-scale observations on Earth landscapes, the long-term effects of anthropocentric climate change, and the possibility of inter-planetary migration.The panel will feature MPA, a performance artist whose most recent body of work looks at the colonization of Mars; Dr. William Stefanov, ISS Program Scientist for Earth Observations at NASA; Jamey Stillings, a photographer who documents human-altered landscapes with an emphasis on environmental sustainability; and Dr. Trevor Williams, whose research focuses on Antarctic ice sheets.

Saturday afternoon’s events at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, 1-6pm, include a series of presentations, discussions and short films. The Center for Land Use Interpretation and Simparch will present the panel “Inundation and Desiccation: On the Edge in America”, a discussion about floodscapes and deserts. The conversation will range from their collaborations in Houston, including Tex Hex and other activities along the Buffalo Bayou, and their projects on the dried out basins and lakebeds of the desiccated West. Their presentation will be accompanied by a screening of CLUI’s landscan video, Houston Petrochemical Corridor, Texas (2008).

This will be followed by “Metabolic Landscapes,” a conversation connecting energy production, agriculture, and public health including Dr. Geof Rayner and artist Gina Glover co-authors of The Metabolic Landscape: Perception, Practice and the Energy Transition, and Dornith Doherty, an artist whose work Archiving Eden looks at international efforts at preservation of biodiversity and food security through seed banks and other initiatives. An excerpt from Sarah Rara’s video The Pollinators (2014) will be screened along with this panel.

Marfa Dialogues/Houston will conclude with “From Hyperlocal to Hyperobject: Art, Ecology, and OOO”, a conversation with Rice University professor Timothy Morton, author of Hyperobjects: Philosophy and Ecology after the End of the World (2013) and Dark Ecology: For a Logic of Future Coexistence (2016) among many other publications and essays; and international award winning photographer Mandy Barker from Leeds, UK. The exchange will be moderated by author Erik Davis, host of the Expanding Mind podcast. The dialogue will explore the uncanny territory of the aesthetic dimension, anti-anthropocentrism, global warming and much more. Sitting Feeding Sleeping (2013) a short video by Rachel Rose will be screened to compliment this discussion.

The mission of Marfa Dialogues is to discover new perspectives on social issues by examining them through the lens of artistic practice. Marfa Dialogues/Houston brings together a diverse and insightful group of participants from the disciplines of visual art, public policy, critical theory, and environmental science, continuing this program’s open and creative approach to some of the most pressing issues of our time.