A ‘holopoem’ for the cosmos | Trending Viral hub


The artist Eduardo Kac The other day he was at his gallery in New York to show a journalist his work: a hologram encoded in a sliver of glass inside a small metal box. This little package is the cornerstone of Kac’s career to date: an artifact he created in 1986 and which is now, finally, about to find its intended home in space. On January 8 he is scheduled to be on board a vulcan centaur rocket as it takes off from Cape Canaveral and heads into orbit around the sun. This holographic work of art, a “holopoem,” Kac calls it, may or may not be discovered hundreds of thousands of years from now by any creature available to find it. But for the moment he was here, at the Henrique Faria gallery, just off Madison Avenue, about to be seen by a human.

Cautiously, I took the small round case. “Okay,” Kac said. “You just have to unscrew it.”

“Unscrew it?” The thing was barely more than half an inch in diameter and had no obvious handholds.

I gave it a chance. She immediately fell to the ground with a crash.

Kac (pronounced Katz) seemed unfazed. “This thing is titanium 5,” the strongest titanium alloy there is. He opened it deftly.

The tiny square of glass inside seemed pristine, untouched. But when Kac held it up between his thumb and forefinger and pointed a small handheld laser at it, the word AGORA appeared in eerie green letters on the opposite wall. This is his holopoem: in his native Portuguese it means “now.” But the name engraved on the outside of the titanium case is AGORA, a subtle but important distinction. With the accent, the Portuguese word changes meaning, from “now” to “place,” as in the ancient Greek word “agora,” which means “meeting place.” (The Greek agora was similar to the Roman forum).

So the holopoem refers to time and space. Space time. In perpetual orbit around the sun.

“Kac has always been interested in radically new forms of distribution, but this really takes it to a new level,” said Stuart Comer, chief curator of media and performance at the Museum of Modern Art. “It completely resets our way of thinking about art, language and communication; we’re not communicating very well, so why not try it with space?”

Kac surmises that his holopoem will eventually be discovered by an undetermined species he calls “homo spaciens”: space people. As for when, he knows that he should not hurry. “It’s like you had a gallery show and no one showed up to the opening,” he said. “But it’s a permanent spectacle, so you hope that eventually they will come.”

His main concern seems to be not time but space. “Putting a work of art deep in the cosmos is an attempt: it is creating this public space by the mere act of making the work in it,” she said. It is not the first time that he has sought to create a public space, an agora. “But now, with this spatial poem, my agora is the cosmos.”

Kac ventured out for the first time in public space and in the art world when he was 17 years old in Rio de Janeiro. It was then that he founded the porn art movement with a friend. It was 1980, towards the end of Brazil’s military dictatorship. The porn art movement wasn’t really about pornography; It was more subversive than that. In his “Pornogram 1,” for example, a naked Kac lay seductively before the camera, his hairy legs spread wide enough to reveal a plausibly depicted vagina. Almost as radical was the idea of ​​​​acting in public, because under the military regime any form of assembly was prohibited. Public space did not exist legally. So Kac put on a pink miniskirt and organized guerrilla performances in Rio’s central square and on Ipanema beach. He had a couple of run-ins with the military police, but nothing he couldn’t get away with.

“Paulo Freire had the pedagogy of the oppressed,” he told me, quoting the left-wing philosopher. “Then there was liberation theology. I created the pornography of emancipation.”

Kac was raised by his maternal grandparents in the elegant, elevated beach district of Copacabana. Polish Jewish refugees who had arrived in Brazil in 1939 supported his unorthodox activities. They financed a book of his porn art poetry. His grandfather even came to the printing shop to make sure the job was done correctly. “The question for them was: How is this child going to survive? With art and poetry? The fact that he was dealing with the body and wearing a miniskirt did not concern them.”

Enrolling at a Catholic university in Rio, Kac found its art and literature programs unbearably conservative. He decided on communications because that would open the door to other disciplines: sociology, anthropology, semiotics, cinema, philosophy.

In 1982, he was getting into digital technology. Years earlier, when he was 12, he had devoured a topical encyclopedia that included entries on topics such as cybernetics, digital art and holography, whose inventor, Dennis Gabor, had recently won the Nobel Prize in Physics for the work of he. Back then, digital art had to be created on a mainframe computer; In the 1980s, Kac could make art on a personal computer or on Minitel, the French videotex service, a version of which was available in Brazil. And that meant that his agora was no longer Ipanema beach or Cinelândia Square. His agora was bigger, broader: the network.

Examples of his Minitel art are now found in the permanent collections of MoMA and the Tate. However, while he was programming the Minitel, Kac began experimenting with holopoems. In 1986 he obtained a residency at the Museum of Holography in New York, where he created “Agora.” But when he returned to Rio and tried to set up his own holography laboratory, he found nothing but frustration. He couldn’t get the materials he needed. His laser stopped working. One of the most advanced holography laboratories for the practice of art was in the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. So she moved to Chicago, he earned his MFA in 1990, began teaching there a few years later, and has remained on his faculty ever since.

Kac created 24 holopoems between 1983 and 1993. He also began experimenting with telepresence and robotics, and later with what he calls “bioart.” This culminated in a major controversy over Alba, the “GFP Bunny” a cute albino bunny that, thanks to sophisticated genetic splicing, turned fluorescent green when you put it under blue light.

Meanwhile, the enthusiasm that holography had received in the 1970s and 1980s was fading. The Museum of Holography closes its doors in 1992. The C-Project, an ambitious program in which artists such as Louise Bourgeois and James Turrell experimented with holography, began in 1994 but closed five years later. A second Museum of Holography, this one in Chicago, lasted until 2009. Today the scene is in limbo. It contracts from time to time: a exhibition in the new museum in New York in 2012, a Project C Exhibition at the Getty Center in Los Angeles next summer. “He’s not dead,” he said. Matthew Schreiber, a holographic artist who worked at C-Project and maintains his own holography lab in Brooklyn. “It’s a little too small.” And Kac? “Wherever the latest technology is, Eduardo is there.”

These days, that seems to be space. Kac’s first work that ventured beyond Earth was “indoor telescope”, a paper sculpture that was developed under the auspices of France’s cultural arm. National Center for Space Studies and made in 2017 by Thomas Pesquet, an astronaut aboard the International Space Station. It took him 10 years to fix it. A small glass work, “Adsum”, is planned for the moon’s surface in 2025. If Vulcan Centaur launches as planned on January 8 and successfully enters solar orbit a few weeks later, it will finally have achieved the objective that was proposed. set for “Agora” in 1986. “I conceived the play for deep space,” he said. “And ever since that moment, I’ve been trying to find a way to complete it.”

It will be the maiden voyage of the Vulcan Centauri. The rocket system was developed by United Launch Alliance, based in Centennial, Colorado, a joint venture of Lockheed Martin and Boeing that competes with SpaceX and others for NASA and Department of Defense contracts. Its primary payload will be a lunar lander that is scheduled to separate from the Centaur V upper stage 92 minutes and 20.9 seconds after liftoff to make a delivery to the moon for NASA. The Centaur V upper stage rocket and its forward adapter will continue into deep space, placing into orbit around the sun with a “commemorative payload” to Heavenlya Houston-based company dedicated to sending small remains of human remains into the cosmos.

Among those whose heirs have placed them atop the rocket’s second stage, fellow travelers of the holopoem, are Apollo 14 astronaut Philip Chapman, “Star Trek” creator Gene Roddenberry and his wife, Majel, and the actors who played three key characters in the original “Star Trek” series – Lieutenant Uhura, Lieutenant Commander Scott and Dr. “Bones” McCoy.

The correlation of “Ágora” with science fiction seems accurate. “I’m still in awe of the technology that Eduardo uses so brilliantly in that work,” said Jenny Moore, who curated the holography show at the New Museum and now directs Tinworks Art, a new exhibition space in Bozeman, Mont. “And what a brilliant moment for its moment to come,” she added, following the extraordinary success of the James Webb Space Telescope, whose images bring us ever closer to the moment of the Big Bang. Still, Moore notes, going into orbit won’t complete the job.

“Will it be perceived by other entities?” Moore said. “Think about the Rosetta Stone: how will that word be received? Because until it is realized, its potential will remain unrealized.”

Neither Kac nor the rest of us will be around to receive the answer.


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