Last week we had a talk from Lex Brown, who came here at the invitation of UNLV’s current artist in residence, New Yorker Ash Ferlito. This week we’ll hear from Ash herself. Same day, same time — Wednesday, 6 – 8 p.m. — but this time the talk is going to end with a time capsule.
Who is contributing to this time capsule? Artists, about half of them from the classes she’s been teaching.
Originally, or so I’ve been told, the plan was to bury this time capsule in the garden, but the UNLV gardeners didn’t like that idea and therefore it will be kept in the Museum on extended loan for thirty years instead. Extended loans at the Barrick are rarely that long or that specific, so, out of curiosity, I asked her if she could tell me more about the project.
She wrote back from a coffee shop:
“I think about time a lot in my work, the future, the past and they way that things— objects, mementos, can take on a significance and act as a conduit to deliver meaning about identity and experience. I’m interested in phenomena like Jerusalem Syndrome and the power of place, things and the effect on the psychology of people. Often in my painting this interest is embedded or mitigated into a system, such as color organization, but Time Capsule 2014 addresses the ideas in a very direct way.
Traditionally a time capsule is a collection or cache of objects and information intended as a means of contact with future people, often intended for archaeologists; this project as an act of social sculpture is a metaphysical exercise proposed to bring greater understanding of our present time, our individual selves, our group identity as well as generate a conversation around the nature of our future. As a requisite for participation the contributors have agreed to convene in 30 years time, 2044, to open the capsule and review the contents. In the case of about half the contributors this is asking them to project into the future longer than they have been alive, which I find really interesting— 30 years seems just over the horizon in terms of clear understanding of what one can imagine his or her life to be. The commitment to meet again is key to the project, the pact, as well as the fact that we, as a group, will exist in this vessel concurrent with the events of our lives, is generating the magic of the act.
I love the ‘slow-burn’ as you’ve described the project. I imagine the alchemy of time and our individual energy effecting change in some way, both in terms of the physical nature of the contributions but also a sort of psychic change outside of the vessel. Within the great flux of life there will be this one small constant. There is a great scene in the movie “Harold and Maude” where Maude throws a souvenir stamped penny ‘Harold loves Maude’ that Harold has just made her into Elkhorn Slew, and exclaims, ‘So I’ll always know where it is.’
We will always know where it is– that is the meaning of the extended loan, it will be there, at the Barrick, cared for, with official paper work, with ceremony and a bronze plaque all adding to the significance of a moment when we were all present in one form or another.”
And she added: “It has caused as all to face the inevitable loss of loved ones and the uncertainty of our own lives.”