AUSTIN, TX.- Arthouse
at the Jones Center announce the upcoming presentation of 24 Hour Roman Reconstruction Project. A durational, participatory model-building extravaganza and dynamic history lesson, the 24 Hour Roman Reconstruction Project is a recreation of the ancient capital city in historical order. Over the course of 24 hours, more than a millennium of Roman history is brought to life at Arthouse.
The 24 Hour Roman Reconstruction Project unfolds at approximately 1.238 years per minute, beginning at midnight with the building of Romulus and Remus huts in 753 B.C.E. and ending 24 hours later as Alaric and the Visigoths sack the mini-empire in 410 C.E. The citys rise and fall takes place within Arthouses walls, under the direction of Los Angeles-based artist Liz Glynn, and with the help of diverse Austin community collaborators and energetic volunteers. The giddy, almost manic progress is photographed and recorded as night becomes day and day becomes night. The city is constructed from salvaged building materials, like wood and cardboard, while special guests enact climatic moments of Roman history. Musical performances, poetry readings, scholarly lectures, architectural tours, hands-on workshops, athletic competitions and feasts are among the many planned events and activities that breathe life into the ancient historical record. In a spectacularly delirious finale, the kingdom is trampled and destroyed by a once constructive and now bloodthirsty team.
The 24 Hour Roman Reconstruction Project epitomizes Glynns persistent use of classical antiquity to refract truths about contemporary society. The artist initiated what became months of intensive research for this project as a response to the re-building of post-Katrina New Orleans and war-ravaged Iraq, in which contexts like the phrase Rome wasnt built in a day is often cited. Romes political and military history is, of course, inscribed into its architecture, making this project more than an investigation of streets and buildings; Glynn is touring us through the life and death of a world and a people.
The 24 Hour Roman Reconstruction Project was presented in 2008 with tremendous success at Machine Project, an alternative space in Los Angeles and in the recent exhibition, The Generational: Younger than Jesus, at the New Museum, New York. Glynns iteration of the project at Arthouse has been customized and Texas-sizedthat is, conceived on a much larger scale and augmented with many additional activities. Glynns project references Arthouses own history as one of Texas oldest visual arts organizations which occupies one of the oldest buildings in the capital city. Furthermore, both the building and organization have been rebuilt numerous times over the course of two centuries. At the same time, Glynn addresses the larger issues concerning the development of cities and the rise and fall of civilizations. Ultimately, Glynn gives us the opportunity to believe anything can and will be built or rebuilt, and simultaneously nudges us to wonder why we sometimes thrill at destruction, too.
Liz Glynn was born in 1981 in Boston. She received her BA from Harvard and her MFA from the California Institute of Arts. Her work has been presented in Los Angeles at Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Machine Project, REDCAT, and was recently included in The Generational: Younger than Jesus at the New Museum in New York. Reviews of her work have appeared in the New York Times, New York Magazine, the Los Angeles Times, Art Lies, Domus, and Archaeology Magazine among others. This is her first exhibition in Texas.