Categories
Projects

The Changes You Made May Not Be Saved

I have a show up at the Robert and Frances Fullerton Museum of Art (RAFFMA) through December 3, 2022. The paint isn’t dry yet, and I haven’t done “proper documentation,” but I thought I’d share a bit about it. Come check it out!

The Changes You Made May Not Be Saved
An interactive installation for imagining and igniting collectivities

A single photograph.
A hand-drawn map.
A collage on the front of a missing notebook.
A pyramid.
A space program.
A raid.

From 1991 to 1994, a small group in Memphis, Tennessee, united under the name OMSA (Orange Mound Space Agency) to establish an anarcho-collectivist counterpoint to the United States National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

A single photograph seems to be the only physical evidence of OMSA’s (One More Sexy Anarchist) mission control center located on the top levels of The Pyramid, a neglected sports and entertainment arena on the bank of the Mississippi River. The photo depicts a collage pasted onto the cover of a composition notebook with the sentence “I think the changes worked!” handwritten in black marker. A small hand-drawn map illustrates the back of the photograph, perhaps describing the notebook's hiding place inside The Pyramid. 

The Memphis Police Department raided the group in 1994, demolishing their living quarters, cultural center, and communications infrastructure inside the Pyramid. After the raid, members scattered across the U.S. Mid-South and Midwest. There is no evidence of OMSA’s (Our Memphian Stubbornness and Assiduity) scientific endeavors or accomplishments. The notebook captured in the photograph has not been found.

What information can be salvaged about OMSA (Okay. Meanwhile, Stop Asking.) from Rob Ray’s interactive installation imagining the long-ago-dissolved group’s creative and scientific endeavors inside the Memphis Pyramid? How might OMSA’s (Our Maybe Secret Advantage) vision for space exploration shine through in Ray’s scale model of the collective’s Pyramid facility? Ray extracts what is known and postulates full-scale displays of their communications systems using augmented reality overlays, speculative promotional materials, and pirate radio listening stations. Ray’s world-building and interviews with activists, artists, and engineers create pyramidal histories whose pixels and atoms converge, heat, crystalize, collapse, explode and scatter.
Promotional card for "The Changes You Made May Not Be Saved."
RAFFMA Exhibit Details (Tennis legend Althea Gibson appears in this collage)