The Center for Short-Lived Phenomena

CCS Bard Galleries, March 18 – April 15, 2012

Artists: Nina Katchadourian, Danna Vajda, and Swintak

The Center for Short-Lived Phenomena is a provisional para-institution situated inside and alongside CCS Bard for one month. Institutions are shaped by – and in turn, propose – particular notions of time.  As a test-site, it takes up time in a way that could fall behind, outrun, or collide with its host institution. Nina Katchadourian’s Seat Assignment, a series of images made in flight improvise with a cell phone and materials close at hand under the time constraints of air travel. Danna Vajda’s untitledus explores the collapse between individual subjectivity and institutional identity, presenting institutions as living entities in conversation through paintings of letterhead. Off-Nominal Situation — a multi-media installation by Swintak — takes up chroma key green, a color used in video production to fuse multiple registers of time and site.

The original Center for Short-Lived Phenomena (1968-1974), from which this project borrows its title, was a branch of the Smithsonian that addressed a broad range of events such as volcanic eruptions, meteorite impacts, and floating islands. These unusual scientific concerns were spontaneous and of limited duration, which made it necessary for this small institution to operate with a different approach to time than its larger host institution. The center emphasized that the study of short-term transient occurrences had the potential to shift accepted knowledge of stable long-term processes.

Curated by Clara Halpern


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