BIOSPHERE 2 | Eric Heist
November 29th, 2014 - January 31st, 2015
The Galveston Artist Residency is excited to welcome Biosphere2, an exhibition of recent works by Eric Heist. This installation continues Heist's interest in the economic and psychological dynamics of communal idealism in the face of individual interests. As in previous exhibitions by the artist, an array of media are directed toward a thematically-organized, research-based approach to an historic event.
In the early nineties, a multi-million dollar facility was constructed in the desert outside of Tucson in Oracle, Arizona. A team of 8 scientists/creative individuals were assembled, half were male, half were female, to live together for a two-year period in a 3.5 acre "closed system" in which no materials were removed or added to the environment. Oxygen, food, and waste would all have to be cultivated or disposed of within the Biosphere. There were a number of "biomes" constructed -- Desert, Savannah, Ocean, Rain Forest, Agriculture -- that were to be maintained by the "Biospherans" and would, in turn, maintain the biosphere, providing water, food, oxygen, and efficient waste recycling.
Biosphere 2 was an Earth-based model for a Mars space station/colony. It was conceived by visionary/poet/actor John Allen and influenced by artists that included Brion Gysin, William S. Burroughs and Buckminster Fuller.
The Biospherans were expected to sustain themselves by growing and raising their own food and to maintain complex life support systems within this giant geodesic terrarium. Within six months a variety of factors converged to undermine the utopic nature of the project: negative publicity, interior malfunctions, lack of food, lack of oxygen and a power struggle between the visionary of the project, John Allen, and the funder, Ed Bass. This power struggle outside of the dome affected the individuals within, creating a deep and personal division. Within six months the Biospherans had separated into two groups of 2 men and 2 women that refused to speak or eat together.
This exhibition stands as a microcosm of the inherent conflicts within a creatively-conceived collaborative effort.
Eric Heist is an artist who works in multiple media exploring the effects of power upon individuals and the contradictions that exist between group and individual interests. Past installations have addressed military, religious, corporate, and economic systems through video, sculptural objects, and works on paper. Installations are thematically organized and individual works represent different perspectives on a singular topic that acquire meaning through a cumulative effect. Recent exhibitions include Foundations, a solo exhibition at Schroeder Romero/Shredder, NY, UStrust, a solo exhibition at Schroeder Romero, Candy Factory, a collaborative project with Genesis P-Orridge, at Team gallery, New York and Centre of Attention, London. His work has been included in exhibitions at Participant, Inc., Max Protetch, Ronald Feldman Fine Arts, White Columns, Roebling Hall, NY, and the Brooklyn Museum of Art, among others. He is a founder and current director of Momenta Art, a not for profit gallery in Brooklyn, NY. He has taught at New York University, Pratt Institute, Brooklyn, and The Cooper Union, New York. His work has been reviewed by Holland Cotter of the New York Times, William Powhida in The Brooklyn Rail, and Christian Viveros-Fauné in Art in America.
To view more images from the exhibition, please visit our facebook page here.