Yes, we’re right smack in the middle of the holidays, but there is reason yet to rejoice for 2021. On March 12, the Buffalo Bayou Park Cistern will debut a new immersive film and sound installation, Time No Longer, by acclaimed multimedia artist Anri Sala. It's set to run through most of the year—until December 12, 2021—and it sounds incredible, and also kind of dark.
Guests will watch as a weathered turntable appears to eerily float in a space station with no human presence around to listen to it (suggesting, perhaps, the aftermath of a catastrophe) as 16 earthly sunrises and sunsets come and go—the film will be projected onto a translucent, 22-by-150-foot screen inside the subterranean reservoir. The installation's soundtrack, a haunting arrangement of Quartet for the End of Time, which was written while composer Olivier Messiaen was confined in a prisoner-of-war camp during World War II, will create ripples on the surface of the water below, thanks to the reverb. You’ll be able to experience the work in 360 degrees by walking the full perimeter of The Cistern, and viewing it from different angles among its 221 supporting columns.
Sala created Time No Longer especially for The Cistern and with the history of Space City in mind, and it’s being touted as his most ambitious project to date, one that isn't afraid to grapple with themes of sadness and suffering, as well as humanity and outer space, of course. The soundtrack, performed by Hungarian-American musician André Vida and French sound designer Olivier Goinard, is Messiaen’s Quartet for the End of Time arranged for clarinet and saxophone, rather than its original instrumentation. It's inspired by Ronald McNair, one of the first Black astronauts and a professional saxophone player, who brought his sax aboard the ill-fated Space Shuttle Challenger in hopes of playing and recording it in space. May we find stillness and peace when the sax strikes up in the reservoir.
Keep apprised of this incredible installation at buffalobayou.org.