September 17 - October 29, 2022
““The shape of tentative futures is the cone /
La forma de los futuros tentativos es el cono.”
How Soon Is Now?? consists of found videos exploring occurrences of a single year, 1997, projected on a cone-shaped screen, along with an assemblage of playlists, light-based work, human-scale text, and print works. Together, these pieces might function as non-explicit information retrieval systems.
Devising an invitation to interrogate a rigid, limited window of one year of phenomena is an intimate quest: any research found in the work is about the subject of 1997 and the investigator himself. Stressing cultural artifacts and remnants of late 90s production show us where and to what the artist was anchored at the moment. Viewers will simultaneously locate themselves in the timeline and do their own calculations of relatability.
No form factor is more favored by present-day uncertainty planners, futurists, and forecasters than the cone. Meteorologists, as an example, rely on cone overlays to graphically convey possible paths of hurricanes. A melting ice cream cone is near-perfect hand-held technology demonstrating phase change. The cone might be our best present-day temporal sequencer.
But the cone presented in How Soon Is Now?? explicitly contains audio and images of a tentative past. Dealing with appallingly complex and appealingly simple nostalgia, the artist constructs a departure point for the future in a different way. Even if we’re familiar with the references or spend hours with the installation’s music and projection, we can only ever be detached from 1997 as it is arranged in the work.
What happens, always happens now. Presenting evidence of the twenty-fifth anniversary of now requires “screening out” a mass of substantial spectacles. In this single-channel video installation, the screen is not only a visual pun, It is also a supplemental, uneasy device for relationship building: the viewer becomes a factor in the selective interpretive journey. Confronting overlapping, spliced sociological and psychological propositions is to move through heavier material than the light the videos are projected through. An unintentionally weird (it can’t not be weird) audio-visual reconstruction of a 365-day moment presented with no obvious hierarchies evolves into a medium and a manipulation –1997 as a nostalgic metric.
How Soon Is Now?? organizes historical records with unashamed sentimentality. The title is on loan from The Smiths but transmits added urgency with double-barrelled punctuation. Reworking a portion of the past, Aguilera encounters his sixteen-year-old self in 2022, extracts some sense of the “historic,” and possibly feels the clock ticking. Behind the pop-culture moments are hints of some of 1997’s political atmospheres and abundance of generative global accords. Social statements of encouragement felt by all our younger selves.
A dual purpose emerges from a cone’s convex lens shape. Typically we look forward through a lens. Engaging with this work, Aguilera invites us to reverse focus from 2022 to 1997 — crossing invisible lines marking Y2K and the turn of the century. In doing so, we focus retroactively and on contracted shared paths. There’s no denying the effect of inverted possibility — or, like The Smith’s song says, nothing in particular.
Born in Mexico’s industrial capital of Monterrey. Aguilera immigrated as a young adult to the U.S., where he settled in Austin, Texas, in the late 2000s. He received his BFA (2004) from The Autonomous University of Nuevo León, México. Working with a variety of mediums that include sculpture, text-based work, print media, public art, video and installations, he researches the intrinsical essence that resides in objects. With interest in scientific observation, cultural history, and social issues, Aguilera’s work aboard our relationship with the physical and cultural spaces in which we (co)exist. He has exhibited nationally and internationally at the Alfred University, The Philbrook Museum, The Contemporary Austin, Artpace San Antonio, the Fusebox Festival, The Blanton Museum of Art at the University of Texas, The George Washington Carver Museum, and The Instituto Cultural de México in Paris, France. In addition to his practice, he is an active member of the Austin-based contemporary arts collaborative Black Mountain Project. He currently lives and works in Austin, Texas.”
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