Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Observatory Call for Works: RETROFUTUROLOGY

Calling all artists and makers:
How the Past Saw the Present // How the Present Sees the Future

A group show of visual art at Observatory, Brooklyn, curated by the Hollow Earth Society, Ethan Gould & Wythe Marschall, Founding Colonels

The imagination (as a productive faculty of cognition) is a powerful agent for creating, as it were,a second nature out of the material supplied to it by actual nature. —Kant

To have an imagined future, you must simultaneously have an imagined present and an imagined past.

A DeLorean decked out in flashing lights and complicated-looking wires: It's a modest-budget promise that, yes, the technologies of our age—our new computer chips and LED lights and cars with doors that open upright like a space pod—can puncture the time barrier, with the right old-fashioned mad scientist at the steering wheel! Where to go? A rowdy 1950s, wherein a white kid can invent rock and roll? A steampunk 1800s? A future wherein the promises of kaleidoscopic, holographic advertising from the late 1980s come to fruition—a world with yet another layer of retrofuturist dreaming added onto the small-town diner...?

Our visions of the future are nested.

Our conception of time is hyperreal. In explaining the visual gimmicks of a single cultural artifact such as the Buggles's "Video Killed The Radio Star," we must refer to the heyday of radio; the future promised by television executives in synthesizer advertisements; science fiction pulp covers from the 1950s; the neon-on-black-and-white aesthetic of MTV in its early years, not to mention the gallery scene that birthed that aesthetic; 1950s diner-decor futurism; the late-1970s body-posturing and dystopic styling of Devo; Fritz Lang's Metropolis, looking forward to 2026; the garb of mad scientists in movies from the 1940s;—and the sigh that comes with opening a magazine and seeing all of this, compressed down into an ad for sunglasses for hipsters.

Or not even for hipsters: The retrocamp fashion exemplified by an irritating blend of past and future has been recompressed and sold in shopping malls internationally. This isn't marginal pulp—

This is the process on which the present runs.

You are invited to join us for a group show

The Hollow Earth Society seeks artists working in drawing, printmaking, and painting, and possibly sculpture and video/multimedia art (space is limited) for RETROFUTUROLOGY, a group show focused on past- and present-futures, to be up from January 29 to March 5, 2011, at Observatory ( Submissions are due January 8, 2011.

How to submit:
Include all information listed below. Late or incomplete submissions will not be considered unless they are mind-staggeringly fantastic and presented with great humility.

Send us up to five images. Digital submissions will be accepted via email. Files must be in JPEG or PDF format. Please number your image files to correspond to your image list.

Send an image list. Double check that the numbers on your list correspond to the numbers in the names of your actual files. In your list, include for each image: an image number, the work's title, the date of work, the medium, and its size and price.
Along with the list, please include a brief description of each image.
Send a three-line bio, your contact information and an email address. You may also submit a résumé.

If you like, send an optional artist’s statement, no longer than 300 words.


Deadline: All email submissions must be received no later than January 8, 2011. (All accepted work should be physically received at Observatory no later than January 24, 2011.)

Return of submitted materials: Include a SASE and make sure there is sufficient postage, or pay for shipping and we will ship your work back to you. If work is two-dimensional, the Hollow Earth Society is more than happy to have it on file for future shows and keep it exhibited for sale on our website. The same 30% commission for art sold will apply.

Drop-Off: If you have been accepted into the show and are in the NYC area, you may wish to drop off your art at the gallery. Email us ( to schedule a date and time.

Pick-Up: Return of mailed artwork with return postage will begin on March 12, 2011.

Email submissions to:

By post:
543 Union Street
Brooklyn, NY 11215
To find out more, click here.

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