Buffalo Bayou Park Cistern is an underground chamber the size of 1.5 football fields, built in 1926 to store up to 15 million gallons of drinking water for the growing city. Time No Longer, Anri Sala's immersive work is inspired by African American astronaut and saxophonist Ronald McNair, who was launched on the Space Shuttle Challenger in 1986 with the intention of recording music in space. Had the rocket not exploded seconds after take-off, he would have. The installation bisects this space with a 143-foot semi-transparent screen, which allows the spectator to see through to the other side of the cistern when dark objects or the black cosmos occupy the screen. The screen is only visible when the film is projecting, leaving the viewer to contemplate the space in darkness. When the film is running, it is reflected in the surrounding water, creating the illusion of infinite turntables tumbling through infinite space.
‘Every person who travels so far away from Earth is a pioneer by nature, but McNair was also a man who aimed to be the very first person to seriously record music in space,’ Sala says.