END NOTES
Wallpaper|May 2021
A subterranean installation in Houston memorialises music lost in space

Albanian artist Anri Sala’s work explores the moment between the tangible and intangible. It exists somewhere between time and space, perhaps even ricocheting between the two. His latest major work combines film, sound and installation at the Buffalo Bayou Park Cistern, a vast underground reservoir in Houston, Texas.

Titled Time No Longer, the work is inspired by the African-American astronaut and jazz saxophonist Ronald McNair, who was a crew member on the Space Shuttle Challenger in 1986 and had the intention of recording the first original piece of music in space. McNair intended that recording to be played as part of Rendez-vous Houston, a live concert by French composer Jean-Michel Jarre to mark the 150th anniversary of the city of Houston and the 25th anniversary of Nasa. Had the Space Shuttle Challenger not exploded seconds after take-off, McNair would have set that record.

Sala’s immersive installation features a floating, weightless turntable, projected intermittently onto translucent Hologauze. The stylus grasps for purchase on the record’s grooves, sometimes managing to communicate music, other times skipping and revolving back into space, resonant of the moment McNair never played. As the motion repeats, we hear snippets of music.

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