Making Time, a two-part show with perspectives both visual and performative, is first a display of what Hernandez calls “living portraits”: multi-generational casted faces implanted with growing things both animate and inanimate, to represent how we turn things around in our minds during the creative process. The exhibit opens on Thursday, October 25, at PlatteForum.
“All the parts are time-based,” Hernandez continues. “Two sculptures are technically alive because there are mushrooms growing out of them. I’ve captured their growth in time-lapse, which you can watch on a screen when you come into the gallery. Then you can see whatever they ended up looking like by the end of October. I don’t know if they’ll be shriveled up or still growing. And because it takes time for things to crystallize, I’m growing crystals on other heads.”
“We’ll take good care of the phones inside: They’ll be placed on a miniature g-scale electric train that goes around the room while [their owners] sit in a waiting room and wait. When each person’s number is called, they eventually get to go into the room where the performance is happening.”
There’s method to this madness, in how it affects both audience members and youth mentees. “The performance is meant to give people space and time to just be bored and not have a phone — to see what they glean from experience,” Hernandez notes. “Also, I want them to realize what happens when they’re addicted to their phones — how often they do reach for the phone in uncomfortable situations. The uncomfortability factor is something they have to deal with, like the anxiety of not having a phone in an art gallery, where one obviously wants to take pictures. In a way, we're toying with viewers.”
As part of her residency, Hernandez gave them free rein to experiment with performance: “They’ve come up with their own boring performances and have written the scripts themselves.
“I wanted to give them an opportunity to see what it’s like to orchestrate situations and work in a large group," she explains. "It’s also a chance to perform and to understand conceptually what we’re doing. I want them to have a feel for the process. Ideas don’t come easily when you want them to. You have to give them time to grow with you.”
Join Esther Hernandez and ArtLab interns for Making Time, an installation and participatory performance on Thursday, October 25, from 6 to 8 p.m. at PlatteForum, 2400 Curtis Street at the Temple; admission is free. The installation remains on view through October 25. Learn more online.