"One Way Trail"
For this year’s incarnation of the annual Art in the Garden series, Blue Star Contemporary Art Museum and the San Antonio Botanical Garden have enlisted celebrated multi-disciplinary artist, urban re-imaginer and Carnegie Mellon art professor Kim Beck. In her work Beck brings the stamp of the natural organism to synthetic creation and the order of the built world to nature’s particular prolificacy. Or, maybe, she reminds us that human beings are inextricable from nature, so our creations necessarily demand reflection through a natural lens. Her thoughtful and intellectually provocative art plays with our notions of urban and natural background noise, bringing fresh perspectives to our consciousness of the everyday. Beck’s contribution to the Art in the Garden series, a multifaceted and multi-modal installation entitled “One Way Trail,” expands on the nuances of these concerns and involves a sacrifice of the artist’s own narrative voice to the personal whimsy of the characters that helped shape the project. The concept is simple: no one goes to a park and only experiences the park. We bring our lives and worldviews and emotional palettes to bear on our experience of any setting. Likewise, no one trail is the right trail, no one experience is exhaustive and no one understanding is complete. Through a mechanism of 16 ‘tour guides,’ several trail heads and a multitude of color-coded, text-embellished signs, Beck’s installation offers a plethora of alternatives to the ‘predictable’ or ‘official’ trail. Complete with phone-accessible snippets of audio from interviews the artist did with each guide — a motley crew that includes SAY Sí art students, two dogs, a Buddhist priest, a Texas rancher and a 95-year-old SA native, among others — “One Way Trail” envisions our stories, our preferences and our desires as integral parts of our experience of the park. By tracing the steps and thoughts of others, here and there as they meander through the park, we come to appreciate the many ways there are to appreciate a single thing. Click here
to read the San Antonio Current
's Q&A with Beck. Opening reception: free, 5:30-7:30pm Thu, San Antonio Botanical Garden, 555 Funston Pl., 207-3250, sabot.org. — James Courtney