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 and can be streamed over a personal mobile device in the park.
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.
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.
Marybeth S. Tomka
Waterloo Greenway Staff and Art Committee: Suzanne Deal Booth, Caroline Haley, Jeanne Klein, Chris Mattsson, Lauren Moorman, Xavier Pena, Thomas Phifer, Cherise Smith, and Melba Whatley.
Teresa Hubbard / Alexander Birchler’s work is represented by Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, New York / Los Angeles and Lora Reynolds Gallery, Austin.
Special thanks to Texas Archeological Research Laboratory and the College of Fine Arts at the University of Texas at Austin for research support.
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.
Past Deposits from a Future Yet to Come is free and shown every night through 2029, one hour after sunset, at Moody Amphitheater at Waterloo Park, except for evenings when a ticketed concert or other special event is taking place.
This schedule is subject to change and will be updated periodically. Please check back before you plan to visit.