Helen Mirra
Hourly Directional

Helen Mirra
Hourly Directional

Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University

Helen Mirra, Walking commas, 2 October, Cortina (detail),
2013. Black and white photographs and text, seven parts,
each 43 x 28 cm.
September 9, 2014
Helen MirraHourly Directional

September 2–October 17, 2014

“Somatic Paradigms,” a conversation with Yukio Lippit, Helen Mirra, and Alise Upitis:
Monday, September 22, 4:15pm, followed by reception

Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University
10 Garden Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
Hours: Monday–Friday 9:30am–5pm


Since 2010, Helen Mirra has been engaged in an ongoing project in which daylong walks generate artworks and vice versa. This corresponds with an overlapping cycle of exhibitions that has perpetuated her ongoing project. At the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University, Mirra’s exhibition Hourly Directional occurs in two parts—the first installed last spring and the second this fall—which brings to the fore notions of non-redundant repetition, change, and chance, which underlie the cyclic nature of the overall project. The exhibition will be accompanied by “Somatic Paradigms,” a conversation with Yukio Lippit, Harvard; Helen Mirra; and Alise Upitis, MIT List Visual Arts Center, on Monday, September 22 at 4:15pm in Radcliffe’s Sheerr Room, Fay House.

The exhibition takes place in Radcliffe’s Byerly Hall Gallery and also in the halls and stairwells of the Institute’s Knafel Center and Schlesinger Library. In Knafel and Schlesinger, sets of text and images, now doubled, appear together in the same locations as the first installation. The works in place from the spring are from walkings made in the autumn of 2013 by Mirra in the Italian Dolomites; those newly added are from subsequent walkings made in the spring of 2014 by Margarita Cardosa in the Southern Sierra of Ecuador. The works in Byerly result from walkings made in late June 2014 by Mirra on Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia.

Together the MIT List Visual Arts Center and Radcliffe have produced Edge Habitat Materials, a survey of all works made by Mirra between 1995 and 2009, together with three accompanying texts. In his essay on walking as minimal aesthetic practice, Bradin Cormack places Mirra’s walks and the overlapping exhibitions that variously index them in the context of her earlier indexical works, in proximity to a range of literary engagements with walking as a form of environmental belonging, and in contact with a philosophical aesthetics that allows doing and perception to be simultaneously personal and exemplary. Selections from Mark Siderits and Shōryū Katsura’s translation of Nāgārjuna’s Mūlamadhyamakakārikā are also included, as is an essay by Tom Wessels on beavers abandoning their ponds. Additions to the book—sent intermittently to readers who mail in a postcard included in the book—include texts by Liz Kotz, Yuri Tsivian, and Alise Upitis, and a bookmark made from a remnant 16mm cloth banding.

The survey book, which takes the form of a three-ring binder, is organized according to primary material—rock, wood, textile, and usw (und so weiter)—and includes line drawings by Mirra of certain of her works. Models for this publication include The Audubon Society’s Field Guide to North American Mushrooms (1981), Daniel Spoerri’s An Anecdoted Topography of Chance (1966), and Richard Tuttle’s Small Sculptures of the 70s (1998).

Edge Habitat Materials
Contributions by Helen Mirra, Bradin Cormack, Mark Siderits and Shōryū Katsura, and Tom Wessels; edited by Alise Upitis
Published by WhiteWalls, Inc.
Distributed by the University of Chicago Press
152 b&w pgs, 90 die-cut; two postcards, additions to follow
ISBN 978-0-945323-25-9

Helen Mirra’s many solo exhibitions include shows at The Renaissance Society at the University of Chicago, Berkeley Art Museum, KW Institute for Contemporary Art, and Haus Konstruktiv, and she participated in both the 50th Venice Biennial and the 30th Sao Paulo Biennial. Mirra has received awards from the Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation, the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation, and Artadia. She was Artist-in-Residence at the Consortium for the Arts at the University of California, Berkeley, and at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum; and has been a guest of the DAAD Künstlerprogramm (Berlin), Office for Contemporary Art Norway (Oslo), Stiftung Laurenz-Haus (Basel), and Iaspis (Stockholm). Hourly Directional is in conjunction with another exhibition with the same title—for which Mirra collaborated with Ernst Karel—which consisted of a single quadraphonic sound work made over the course of walks in Mata Atlântica, Brazil, and was on view at the MIT List Visual Arts Center February 7–April 6, 2014.


Helen Mirra at Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University

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September 9, 2014

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