Past Deposits from a Future Yet to Come

Past Deposits from a Future Yet to Come

Teresa Hubbard / Alexander Birchler

Buttons, plates, marbles, bottles, coins, bullets, keys and other historic artifacts are suspended in a rhythmic free fall, a choreographed parade, in Past Deposits from a Future Yet to Come (2024), a new public video art installation by internationally renowned artists, Teresa Hubbard / Alexander Birchler. Past Deposits is commissioned by Waterloo Greenway for Moody Amphitheater at Waterloo Park, demonstrating the Park’s commitment to showcasing contemporary public art as a starting point for vital community-shaping conversations and collaborations. Teresa Hubbard (b. 1965, Ireland) and Alexander Birchler (b. 1962, Switzerland) have worked collaboratively since 1990, and they are among the most important contemporary artists working with film and new media. Their work focuses on the ways in which histories, social life, and memories intersect. Hubbard and Birchler are based in Austin and are Professors in the Department of Art and Art History, College of Fine Arts at the University of Texas at Austin.

While researching the history of Waterloo Park and Waller Creek, Hubbard / Birchler discovered that almost two decades ago, artifacts had been unearthed from the site and placed in deep storage at the Texas Archeological Research Laboratory. Although the banks of Waller Creek have likely been visited by humans for thousands of years, due to ferocious and unpredictable flooding in the area, artifacts prior to the mid 19th century have all been washed away. What remains are hundreds of artifacts from the mid-19th to the mid-20th century. Hubbard / Birchler spent a year studying each artifact, which will be unveiled to the public for the first time through their artwork. The artists have rendered the small, everyday artifacts found during the multiple digs along Waller Creek into incredibly detailed, monumentally scaled image projections. The colossal-sized objects orbit one another – with synchronous and asynchronous movements – some spin wildly and without inhibition against a dark void. Past Deposits will fill the entire 16 ft x 120-foot wall of the Moody Amphitheater, and will be presented nightly until park closure.

In considering a soundtrack for Past Deposits, Hubbard / Birchler have chosen a hybrid approach of embracing the existing sounds in Waterloo Park and commissioning the creation of a musical score for instruments and voice. The score for Past Deposits is created by composer Alex Weston, with whom the Artists have previously collaborated. The musical score is synchronized to the video installation and can be listened to over any personal mobile device in the park on the evenings when the work is presented. On the opening night, the score is performed live with a musical ensemble.

Past Deposits reminds us of the people who resided, worked, and lived out their lives in and around Waller Creek from the mid-19th century to the mid-20th century. The work evokes contemplation of the complexities of a much longer, deep history of all of the lives lived along the banks of the creek. Past Deposits revivifies these histories by representing a vast array of artifacts, each touched by human hands, that were buried under layers of earth during the numerous floods that swept through the lower Waller Creek area time and time again. Taking the repetition of these natural occurrences as a point of departure, the artifacts featured in Past Deposits are caught in a continuous flow, adrift in a current or stream, ever moving. Hubbard / Birchler’s artwork offers a poetic, visual meditation on the notion of time itself, questioning whether time is linear or a continuum, whereby past, present, and future intermingle. The passing of time, the trace and fate of the things that mark our everyday existence – the buttons that fasten our clothes, the toys children play with, the jewelry we hold dear, the keys to lock our doors – are indeed central to the work.

Facilitating critical contemplation around our shared pasts and possible futures, Past Deposits also foregrounds the ways in which we know and understand our world. The artists relied upon very basic principles of organization – subject matter, material composition, and function – resisting systems of hierarchy to choreograph the parade of artifacts. These traces of everyday life, which may be seen as simple discards by some, are given new value, becoming ciphers for a past that is present all around us.

Past Deposits from a Future Yet to Come will debut to the public on March 2, 2024. 

Teresa Hubbard / Alexander Birchler

Teresa Hubbard (b. 1965, Ireland) and Alexander Birchler (b. 1962, Switzerland) have worked collaboratively since 1990, and they are among the most important contemporary artists working with film and new media. Their work focuses on the ways in which histories, social life, and memories intersect. In their films, photography and sculpture, Hubbard / Birchler create a hybrid form of storytelling that weaves together reconstruction, reenactment, and documentary. Hubbard / Birchler are based in Austin and are Professors in the Department of Art and Art History, College of Fine Arts at the University of Texas at Austin.

Hubbard attended the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, as well as the graduate sculpture program at Yale University School of Art, New Haven, Connecticut. Birchler studied at the Academy of Art and Design Basel and the University of Art and Design, Helsinki, Finland. They began collaborating as artists-in-residence at the Banff Centre for the Arts and later completed graduate degrees at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design in Halifax, Canada. In 2017, they were each awarded an honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts by the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design University in Halifax, Canada, in recognition of their outstanding achievements to art and culture.

Their work has been presented at numerous international venues in solo and group exhibitions, including the 48th and 57th Venice Biennial; Giacometti Institute Paris; Hamburger Bahnhof, Museum für Gegenwart, Berlin; Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin; Kunsthaus Graz; Mori Museum Tokyo; Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago; Reina Sofia Museum Madrid; Tate Museum Liverpool and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York. 

Hubbard / Birchler’s work is held in public collections throughout the world, including the Goetz Collection Munich; Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden at the Smithsonian, Washington D. C.; Kunsthaus Zurich; Kunstmuseum Basel; Los Angeles County Museum of Art LACMA; Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth; Museum of Fine Arts Houston; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles MOCA; National Museum of Art Osaka and the Pinakothek der Moderne, Munich.

On View

Past Deposits from a Future Yet to Come is free and shown every night, one hour after sunset until 10pm, at Moody Amphitheater at Waterloo Park, except for evenings when a ticketed concert or other special event is taking place.

Past Deposits was commissioned as a 5-year exhibition and will be displayed through March, 2029. The schedule below is published seasonally and subject to change on short notice. Please check back before you plan to visit.


March

Saturday, March 2 · Opening Night

Friday, March 8 · 7:26pm
Saturday, March 9 · 7:27pm
Sunday, March 10 · 8:28pm

Monday, March 18 · 8:33pm
Tuesday, March 19 · 8:34pm
Wednesday, March 20 · 8:34pm
Thursday, March 21 · 8:35pm
Friday, March 22 · 8:36pm
Saturday, March 23 · 8:36pm
Sunday, March 24 · 8:37pm

Monday, March 25 · 8:38pm
Tuesday, March 26 · 8:38pm
Wednesday, March 27 · 8:39pm
Thursday, March 28 · 8:40pm
Friday, March 29 · 8:40pm
Saturday, March 30 · 8:41pm
Sunday, March 31 · 8:42pm


April

Monday, April 1 · 8:42pm
Tuesday, April 2 · 8:43pm
Wednesday, April 3 · 8:44pm
Thursday, April 4 · 8:44pm
Friday, April 5 · 8:45pm

Monday, April 8 · 8:47pm
Tuesday, April 9 · 8:48pm
Wednesday, April 10 · 8:49pm
Thursday, April 11 · 8:49pm
Friday, April 12 · 8:50pm
Saturday, April 13 · 8:51pm
Sunday, April 14 · 8:52pm

Monday, April 15 · 8:52pm
Tuesday, April 16 · 8:53pm
Wednesday, April 17 · 8:53pm

Monday, April 22 · 8:58pm
Tuesday, April 23 · 8:58pm
Wednesday, April 24 · 8:59pm
Thursday, April 25 · 9:00pm

Monday, April 29 · 9:03pm
Tuesday, April 30 · 9:04pm


May

Wednesday, May 1 · 9:05pm
Thursday, May 2 · 9:05pm
Sunday, May 5 · 9:08pm

Monday, May 6 · 9:09pm
Tuesday, May 7 · 9:09pm
Wednesday, May 8 · 9:10pm
Thursday, May 9 · 9:11pm

Monday, May 13 · 9:14pm
Tuesday, May 14 · 9:15pm
Friday, May 17 · 9:17pm
Saturday, May 18 · 9:18pm
Sunday, May 19 · 9:19pm

Wednesday, May 22 · 9:21pm
Thursday, May 23 · 9:22pm
Friday, May 24 · 9:23pm
Saturday, May 25 · 9:23pm
Sunday, May 26 · 9:24pm

Monday, May 27 · 9:25pm
Tuesday, May 28 · 9:26pm
Wednesday, May 29 · 9:26pm


Listen to the Score

Instructions

In order to listen to the synchronized score while viewing the work in the park, please download this free AudioFetch app:

Connect to the Wi-Fi network #PastDeposits (password: pastdeposits), launch the AudioFetch app, and play the score.

It is encouraged to listen to the score using AirPods, Bluetooth headphones or a portable Bluetooth speaker.

About the Score

In considering a musical score for Past Deposits, Hubbard / Birchler envisioned the sound of the human voice, without words. They have again collaborated with composer Alex Weston, with whom they previously worked with for their project for the Venice Biennale entitled Flora. The score for Past Deposits is synchronized to the video installation and can be listened to over any personal mobile device in the park whenever Past Deposits is presented.

About the Composer

Alex Weston is a composer of music for concert works and film scores. Notable recent film scores include The Farewell (dir: Lulu Wang, A24), which was included on the shortlist for “Best Original Score” for the 2020 Academy Awards, Expats starring Nicole Kidman (dir. Lulu Wang, Amazon), and documentaries Jane Fonda in Five Acts (HBO) and the Ken Burns produced documentary The Emperor of All Maladies (PBS). Weston’s concert works include commissions from the Lyrica Chamber Music Ensemble, ABCIrque, MADArt Creative, the Kennedy Center, the Venice Biennale and the Obie and Drama League Award winning theater group, Theater in Quarantine.

Performers for the live performance at Moody Amphitheater at Waterloo Park

Soprano  ·  Gitanjali Mathur
Tenor  ·  Paul Sanchez
Violin 1  ·  Alexis Buffum
Violin 2  ·  Christabel Lin
Viola  ·  Ruben Balboa III
Cello  ·  Ilia De la Rosa
Flute  ·  Kenzie Slottow
Clarinet  ·  Patrick Dolan
Piano  ·  Alex Weston

Performers on the recorded score

Soprano  ·  Elly Kace
Tenor   ·  Tomas Cruz
Violin 1  ·  Alex Weill
Violin 2  ·  Francesca Dardani
Viola  ·  Christiana Liberis
Cello  ·  Reenat Pinchas
Flute  ·  Anna Urrey
Clarinet   ·  Bixby Kennedy
Piano  ·  Alex Weston

Engineered & Mixed by Chris Cubeta, Studio G, Brooklyn, NY

Dialogues

From the onset of working on Past Deposits for Waterloo Greenway, Hubbard / Birchler have envisioned to create a public outreach series, Dialogues, as a way to open up expansive conversations about community, place and history. Respondents in the series are invited to contribute their perspectives about site, context and history; art as archeology; objects and objecthood. Their forthcoming contributions will be posted in a staggered schedule here. Confirmed Dialogues participants are: 

Jana La Brasca: Researcher, writer, and PhD candidate in art history specializing in modern and contemporary art, Department of Art and Art History, University of Texas at Austin

Lisa Le Feuvre: Curator, writer, editor and Director, Nancy Holt / Robert Smithson Foundation

Dieter Roelstraete: Curator, Neubauer Collegium for Culture and Society, University of Chicago

Zachary Suri: 2022-2023 Austin Youth Poet Laureate and co-host, co-producer, and poet-in-residence for This is Democracy podcast

Andrés Tijerina: Professor of History at Austin Community College, member Texas State Historical Association and scholar of Tejano history

Javier Wallace: Founder of Black Austin Tours and Postdoctoral Associate in the African and African American Studies Department at Duke University

Support

This commission demonstrates Waterloo Greenway’s dedication to connecting the community with the rich history of Waller Creek and the people that have lived and worked alongside it. Waterloo Greenway strives to celebrate local, national, and international artists of the highest caliber throughout our parks system. Thank you to our generous Past Deposits from a Future Yet to Come supporters for bringing this exhibition to life.


Lead support provided by Edward and Betty Marcus Foundation, Suzanne Deal Booth, and the Still Water Foundation.

Major support provided by Charles Attal, Deborah Dupré, Jeanne and Mickey Klein, Kathleen Irvin Loughlin and Chris Loughlin, Susan Marcus, Chris Mattsson, Lauren and Tom Moorman, Lora Reynolds and Colin Doyle, Susan Vaughan Foundation, and Gail and Rodney Susholtz.

Support provided by Caroline and Brian Haley,  Elizabeth and Rob Rogers, and the Wolff Family Foundation.

Additional support provided by Rosemary and Russell Douglass. 

Special Thanks
Skye Ashbrook, Adam Cicero, Rachel Feit, Brad Jones, Bill Haddad, Graham Reynolds, MacKenzie Stevens, Marybeth S. Tomka, and Alex Weston

Waterloo Greenway Staff

Waterloo Greenway Art Committee: Suzanne Deal Booth, Caroline Haley, Jeanne Klein, Chris Mattsson, Lauren Moorman, Xavier Pena, Thomas Phifer, Cherise Smith, and Melba Whatley.

Grateful Acknowledgement for Research Support
College of Fine Arts at the University of Texas at Austin and Texas Archeological Research Laboratory at the University of Texas at Austin


Teresa Hubbard / Alexander Birchler’s work is represented by Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, New York / Los Angeles and Lora Reynolds Gallery, Austin.