From April 13 to October 10, 2018, Ballroom Marfa presents “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.
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.
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, 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 A. Michael Powell Herbarium, the Rio Grande Research Center, Oscar Santillán, and the University of Texas at Austin McDonald Observatory.
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Photo n°1: Tara Donovan, Untitled (Plastic Cups), 2006 2015. Courtesy of the artist.
Photo n°2: Sissel Marie Tonn, “The Intimate Earthquake Archive”, 2016-ongoing. Courtesy the artist and Ballroom Marfa.
Photo n°3: Raviv Ganchrow, “Quartz Attention”, 2018 (work-in-progress), Courtesy the artist and Ballroom Marfa.