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No Wave Feminism in your backyard
GARDEN PARTY/ARTS PRESENTS: EPHEMERA

The artists’ text can be found here.


June 22, 2013 4-8pm. 387 Sumpter Street, Brooklyn, NY 11233

Eric Timothy Carlson / Erik Gonzalez / Carlos Rosales-Silva / Elizabeth Tubergen

“Queerness is rarely complemented by evidence, or at least by traditional understandings of the term. The key to queering evidence, and by that I mean the ways in which we prove queerness and read queerness, is by suturing it to the concept of ephemera. Think of ephemera as trace, the remains, the things that are left, hanging in the air like a rumor.” -José E. Muñoz, “Gesture, Ephemera, and Queer Feeling,” Cruising Utopia: The Then and There of Queer Futurity

“I am proposing that feminists refuse the choices as offered—freedom in liberal terms or death—in order to think about a shadow archive of resistance, one that does not speak in the language of action and momentum but instead articulates itself in terms of evacuation, refusal, passivity, unbecoming, unbeing.” -Judith Halberstam, The Queer Art of Failure  


For this exhibition GARDEN PARTY/ARTS is asking four object-based artists to consider the relationship of ephemera to their work. Ephemera is fleeting; always on the verge of becoming lost, but it’s also what is left behind. If an artwork is impermanent, how long does it last, and when does it start or end? What is the aesthetic of unbecoming, and how can it be feminist? In Cruising Utopia: The Then and There of Queer Futurity José E.Muñoz describes the ephemera of performance as both intangible (memory, rumor) and as physical (trace, remnant). He writes:

“It has become somewhat axiomatic within the field of performance studies that the act exists only during its actual duration. I have been making a case for a hermeneutics of residue that looks to understand the wake of performance. What is left? What remains? Ephemera remain. They are absent and they are present, disrupting a predictable metaphysics of presence. The actual act is only a stage in the game; it is a moment, pure and simple. There is a deductive element to performance that has everything to do with its conditions of possibility, and there is much that follows.”

While ephemera is undoubtedly a byproduct of performance, I question whether there is anything intrinsically less ephemeral about our experience of art objects. If we shift our understanding of what art is and where it exists to a more phenomenological perspective we can see “art” not as a factual quality possessed by some objects and not others but instead as culturally and socially contingent and predicated on the network of viewers that give it meaning.

Of course some arts practices engage the ephemeral more than others. Many mainstream artists still work to reaffirm the mythical qualities of art: its universality, permanence, beauty, and the mastery and genius of the artist (Koons, Hirst, et al). Artworks that embody these traditional values promote hegemony and circulate smoothly through markets. Instead, artists oriented towards ephemera might make objects that, as Munoz writes, “seem filled with the intent to be lost–their loss is no disaster.” Refusing these values is a strategy for resistance, nonconformity, and critique.


-E.E. Ikeler



Ephemera Installation view


Ephemera Installation view


Ephemera Installation view, with Eric Timothy Carlson’s Becoming Less Ourselves and More One Another” (floor stripes)


Carlos Rosales-Silva, “Tru Class" on Eric Timothy Carlson’s Becoming Less Ourselves and More One Another” (floor stripes)


Carlos Rosales-Silva, “Tru Class" on Eric Timothy Carlson’s Becoming Less Ourselves and More One Another” (floor stripes)


Installation view


Left: “Glyphing (Shadow of the Unseen Shadow of the Unheard)" by Eric Timothy Carlson. Right: "Twinz" by Carlos Rosales-Silva


Glyphing (Shadow of the Unseen Shadow of the Unheard)" by Eric Timothy Carlson


Sext-oid Android of Found and Tracing, Touch Everything, Feels for the Ghost" by Eric Timothy Carlson


Carlos Rosales-Silva, “2wisted


Carlos Rosales-Silva, “2wisted" detail


Ephemera Installation view


Elizabeth Tubergen, installation view


Elizabeth Tubergen, installation view. Right: “Certain Hope


Elizabeth Tubergen, installation view. Left: “Falling Balloons" Right: "Inflate/Deflate


Ephemera installation view


Erik Gonzalez, Crotch Painting" (oil on stretched mirror)


Erik Gonzalez, We’re All in this Together" (balloons, water, acrylic box)


Erik Gonzalez, We’re All in this Together" detail