Yiso Bahc’s project at Artpace continues the artist’s interest in space and dislocation. In the gallery, Bahc removed a large portion of the newly built wall and placed it on the floor, leaving its rough details—wooden beams and drywall—intact. Bahc then projects live video images from cameras installed on ArtPace’s roof onto the floor-bound wall or “screen.” Multiple projectors create an inverted collage of San Antonio’s horizon and the seemingly endless Texas sky. Bahc deftly shifts perspective so viewers seem to look out as they actually peer down and remain inside.
A second piece presents a more imaginary landscape. Updating the icon of a message in a bottle, the artist has launched into the Gulf of Mexico a bottle containing a Global Positioning System (GPS) tracking device. The GPS, sealed within a modest, plastic bottle, transmits a signal of its precise location as it floats in the sea. Bahc charts a route of an unpredictable, aimless journey by marking the gallery’s wall. The viewer imagines an experience “at sea” and without bearings. The piece is both finite and endless: when the battery in the device dies, the bottle will disappear from our mapping knowledge but not from the earth. With the drifting bottle, Bahc seems to question the limits of our knowledge about existence, future, and fate.
In both pieces, real-time and surveillance are placed in the context of nature, creating a poetic meditation. With the projected sky, the viewer searches, waits for action to appear. Conversely, with the bottle floating in the sea, the sculpture is the action; although it is powerless in its direction, dependent on the current to chart its course. Quiet and open-ended, Bahc’s work reflects on ideas of passage—the flow of time and crossings of boundaries.