On one of my strolls through campus, I happened to stumble upon a yellow poster plastered to the sidewalk. Through the leaves, I was able to decipher black lettering and a huge number 16 at the very top. Of course, being an English major and in love with the unconventional, I stopped in my tracks and let my eyes take in the story in front of me. It spoke about a Yugoslavian artist and one of her pieces of work. As I continued reading, I found myself wrapped up in this story about an artist willing to put her life in danger for her art. Poster 16 is found on the sidewalk leading towards the fountain after crossing Entrance 14 from SR1. You can find it in the shade a stone's throw from the food trucks.
As I kept walking, I kept finding posters in the strangest places. In some instances, there was more than one of the same number translated into different languages. Each poster had its own unique story to tell. Every time my eyes found the bright yellow posters around campus, I could feel myself drawn to the life behind the words placed upon the side of a building. Why did someone put this here? Why did they want to share it? Why is it important for people to read?
The day after I found that first person, I decided to take a walk around the entire campus so I could find every single one. I was hell-bent on the fact that these strange writings on the walls and sidewalks had to mean something. It was a Friday afternoon, the sun was killing me, and I had the smartest idea to wear a black t-shirt. Long story short, I was dying.
As I passed Blaffer Art Museum and the School of Art, I noticed a man pulling bright yellow rolls out of the bed of his pickup truck. Just one of those "right place at the right time" scenarios. Through this chance encounter, I met the masterminds behind this project and learned what's it all about.
A critical studies professor at UH, Raphael Rubinstein, is the author of a book called The Miraculous. Each of the 50 chapters in this book describes an artist and their work. Some of the stories are quite fascinating. Each of the posters is a page pulled from each of the 50 chapters in the book. The project is meant to bring awareness to contemporary art. Dr. Rubinstein and his partner, Heather Bause, wanted to create something that would cause college students at the University of Houston to stop, put their phones down, and think about these stories. Most of our generation has little to no knowledge about the elements of contemporary art. By creating public exhibitions, Bause and Rubinstein use curiosity as their weapon of choice.
The project is a part of CounterCurrent, an art festival presented by the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Center for the Arts at the University of Houston. Their mission is to put on "a festival of performance, installation and ideas". It will take place April 18-23, 2017. A full schedule can be found here.
I encourage everyone to try to go to at least one of the amazing events planned for CounterCurrent. When you pass by one of these vivid posters, take a moment to stop and read them. It may spark a train of thought that could lead you somewhere incredible.
Get your tickets here.