Mischa Kuball, still from a video, August 2009

Mischa Kuball

Mischa Kuball creates light- and video-based installations—”situations” is perhaps the better word—in response to specific locations. He’s interested in the way ingrained notions of public and private are staged, enforced, or traduced in modern urban spaces, and often uses the medium of light to confuse or collapse conventional distinctions: interior/exterior, public/private, architecture/non-architecture, etc. Kuball has been working since the mid-1980s and has developed his “situations” in a great variety of media, mediums, and contexts.

At the Locker Plant, Kuball showed a video, Public Proposition no. 2, which documents three “performances” he produced during his stay at Marfa: one occurring at Chinati’s temporary exhibition space, one at the Locker Plant, and one at the crossing of Highland Avenue and Texas Street. The video was projected from floor to ceiling in the Locker Plant’s small back room and was made using a few simple devices: a videocamera with a fan attached to it and a NASA-designed “space blanket.” (Made of a foil-like material, the blankets are silver in color on one side, gold on the other.) For the two interior scenes, Kuball simply turned on the camera/fan and aimed it at the blanket lying on the floor. The blanket stirred in the breeze and began to move restlessly about, flashing now gold, now silver, until it was finally cornered against a wall. The outdoor segment of the video, filmed from a fixed, security-camera-like position to the side of the Highland and Texas intersection, showed the blanket moving fitfully in the wind while cars and trucks steered around it. All three segments of the video suggested dance—an improvised choreography of animate and inanimate materials.

Mischa Kuball was born in Düsseldorf, where he lives today with his family. He has created and exhibited work internationally for many years, and is currently a professor at the Academy of Media Arts in Cologne.