Would You Look at the Time is a research and video art project that explores the relationship between ideas about time, biological and geological timescales, and human interactions with the non-human world. The project includes the videos Timing (2022) and Shell Composite (2022) as well as a research bibliography and artist discussion panel. The panel consisted of multidisciplinary artists Julia Barbosa Landois, Julie DeVries, and Monica Villarreal, and was moderated by Tiffany Jin, curator/co-founder of the Houston Climate Justice Museum. Read the transcript here.
Would You Look at the Time was funded in part by the City of Houston through Houston Arts Alliance with additional contributions by Aurora Picture Show and Garza Studios.
Timing (2022) is a five-minute animation that combines specimens collected at the Buffalo Bayou headwaters and colorful marks representing their comparative life spans. Timing was projected onto the understructure of a bridge that spans the urban bayou during Night Light, a public event organized by Aurora Picture Show and Buffalo Bayou Partnership. Soundtrack by vibraphonist Jalen Baker.
Shell Composite (2022) uses video, photos, animation, and intimate family moments to contemplate our relationship to non-human life, the built environment, and what’s left to future generations. “Shell composite” refers to sidewalks in the artist’s mid-20th-century neighborhood that incorporate oyster shells dredged from Galveston Bay, a common practice until banned in the 1970s due to environmental impacts. Water footage was captured at Armand Bayou, one of the last non-channelized bayous left in the region. Piano by Daniel Zajicek.
Sidesteps (Purslane) (2021) contemplates a common native plant as a symbol of resilience in the face of environmental and familial trauma. Narration and piano by the artist.
Cloud Bailing (2022) was a site-specific projection created during the Contemplamos Residencia Familiar at ContemploMX in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. The piece combined layers of cut paper animations with found sound from radio aporee ::: maps. The piece was screened during the Viñedo Dos Búhos annual vendimia (grape harvest) celebration.
Container Cycle (2020) is an animation made using paper cut from the artist’s old silkscreen prints. The infinity sign/ouroboros of interlocking plastic containers was inspired by the scientist who discovered how to visually represent benzene, a component of plastics, while supposedly daydreaming of the mythical snake eating its own tail. The images reference Gulf Coast industry and storm recovery as well as medieval European, Egyptian, and Buddhist depictions of time and the cosmos. The first iteration of this animation was used in the installation Ouroboros (for Kekulé) at Lawndale Art Center in 2019 (see Installations page) and is mentioned in the book Plastic: An Autobiography by Allison Cobb.
Lyrics and music by Julia Barbosa Landois and Erik Sanden. From the album Live Ballast, released in 2021 by Bedlamb Records.
“Landois’ argument with God is a digital-age extension of a distinguished literary tradition with satiric barbs as pointed as Mark Twain’s in Letters from the Earth.”
DAN GODDARD, SAN ANTONIO CURRENT
Star-Crossed II (2013) employs a ranchera love song, Se Me Hizo Fácil, to narrate a woman’s break-up with Jesus. The Spanish lyrics scroll behind her as she sings, accompanied by her own voice on a loop pedal. Halfway through the performance, the English subtitles radically diverge from the lyrics to reflect her thoughts, both humorous and haunting, on a dying romance. The first incarnation of this piece was a live performance at the McNay Art Museum in 2012 for He Said/She Said, curated by Chris Davila, and the video was later featured in the 2013 Texas Biennial.
Don’t Explain (2015) combines visuals inspired by sacred statuary with an a cappella soundtrack of 20th century jazz standards sung in monastic harmonies. Lyrics of the songs “Don’t Explain” (1946) and “Guilty” (1931) are used in this context to convey the conflicted emotions that come with carrying a child, and the relationship between motherhood, sexuality, and bodily integrity. Words of longing and guilt counter and complement the protagonist’s unflinching gaze toward the viewer and the heavens. This video is formatted to be shown in a vertical orientation, either by projection or on a wall monitor turned sideways.