Stowaway series, New Museum, New York
Curated by Helga Christoffersen
5 May – 29 June 2014
In his practice, Horvitz grapples with time and standardized measurements, and the shifts that occur when natural phenomena are subjected to manmade systems and vice versa. Unfolding as concrete actions, Horvitz’s works are often ongoing or self-generating projects. Taking advantage of diverse systems of circulation, he gathers and disperses images and objects through media such as the internet, the postal system, libraries, and airport lost and found services. Optimistically alluding to the possibility of an alternative logic, Horvitz exploits the structures in place around him as much as he deliberately counters patterns derived from professionalization and efficiency.
Titled “Gnomons” after the device on a sundial, which effectively produced the first image of time in the form of a shadow, Horvitz’s presentation includes the work Let us keep our own noon (2013), consisting of forty-seven handbells created through the remelting of a French church bell dating back to 1742. The work is activated by forty-seven performers who, at local noon (when the sun is positioned exactly above the New Museum), collectively ring the bells and then disperse throughout the building and out onto the surrounding streets of the Museum. Referencing the bygone practice of navigating time according to the position of the sun, the work reminds us that our daily rhythms are not solely determined by tradition and locality, but also rooted in global forces. In another work, The Distance of a Day (2013), Horvitz journeyed halfway around the world to the exact location where he could see the sunrise in the same moment that his mother was watching the sunset in California. Rather than emphasizing the result of a journey or the duality of here and there, Horvitz creates an image of the measurement that separates two people in time—exactly one day.