Jeff Gibbons and Gregory Ruppe

Artists and Curators of Culture Hole and CultureHoleTV

When the pandemic hit and lockdown was enforced, Dallas artists Jeff Gibbons and Gregory Ruppe, curators of a small subterranean space in The Power Station called CultureHole, snapped into action, developing a new digital arm of their curatorial endeavor: CultureHole TV was born. For it, Gibbons and Ruppe have asked artists to submit short videos that describe this particular moment in time, offering imaginative perspectives from around the world. To get a sense of what Gibbons and Ruppe are themselves thinking about just now, they sent along this thoughtful dispatch. 

Muppet Babies 

I grew up watching this show. It ran from 1984 to 1991. Jim Henson, what an amazing human. I want to put Mr. Rogers on this list too, but he’s getting enough press lately. I haven’t re-watched many Muppet Babies episodes yet, but episode 2 from season 1 is great. There’s a song called something like “good things happen in the dark” (which makes an appearance in episode 2 of CultureHoleTV). Beaker is afraid of the dark and Bunsen has no eyes (the puppet had no eyes, just glasses, but it’s somehow unsettling in a great way in the cartoon). The Muppet Babies were always in the same playroom, living out adventures in their imaginations. They never left, so it seems sort of fitting to our times in a way.??— Jeff Gibbons 


The Turin Horse 

The “hosts” of CultureHoleTV are Dreambody and Mop, two sculptural characters that first appeared together in Dreambody and Mop Don’t Go to The Circus, a film Jeff and I made in Guadalajara, Mexico in 2017. In shooting, we didn’t exactly know what the film would eventually be, only that we wanted these enchanted characters to churn violently within the inside-out architectural conditions of the house where we stayed, with their agoraphobia’s crescendo as a kind of communal psychosis. Editing and sound came together when we returned to Texas, and the pace and weight of The Turin Horse had some influence on the structuring of our film. Bela Tarr and Ágnes Hranitzky's film is unbelievably beautiful and intense, but if you are looking for a pick-me-up, it has been described as a “thorough and systematic statement of intellectual despair” so… Since their own film debut, Dreambody and Mop have come a long way, and their introverted natures have oddly worked in favor of their hosting duties for CultureHoleTV. — Gregory Ruppe 


Space Ghost Coast to Coast 

I haven’t watched this much lately, but I did a lot a few years ago. It’s been on my mind though, the dry humor and the awkwardness. The bridge between improvised audio and rough cartoon has an immediacy and lo-fi looseness that seems more relevant now than then.?— JG 


Fishing with John 

John Lurie’s 1991 television show about fishing?.. supernatural encounters?.. psychedelic travel? I don’t think I saw it until early in the 2000s, but it has remained one of my favorite television series over the years, and something to aspire to in the development of our Culture Hole brand of television.? — GR 


Bob Marley 

I took a long drive at some point and listened to the audiobook of I am Legend by Richard Matheson, which was written in 1954 and was one of the precursors for contemporary zombie stories. That later lead to watching the film adaptation starring Will Smith, which was pretty different than the book, but still mostly revolved around a disease that spread through the world and ultimately turned everyone into vampire-like zombie creatures. Anyways, there’s a moment, or two, or more (?) in that movie when poor Will Smith is listening to Bob Marley’s “Three Little Birds / Everything’s Gonna Be Alright” in a heavy ironic sort of way, being the last person left alive. So now I’ve been listening to Bob Marley while throwing cups on the wheel (clay… ceramics). I’ve spent a lot of time lately getting good at making cappuccinos and then making the cups to hold the cappuccinos. The touch of the lip, the weight of the tilt, the hold of the handle. Getting a grasp on steaming milk and consistent micro foam, pulling a good shot. Latte art, the whole thing. I used to work in clay a lot back in the day, and I learned from a guy with a really long beard that used to jam to Pink Floyd or the Who and throw pots. His potter’s wheel sat in the Florida Keys, next to a door that looked out to the Gulf of Mexico. So there’s some nostalgia built in to it too. It’s cheesy in a way, but it’s nice to direct feelings with music. Life is not a movie but right now it sort of is, and we don’t really want it to be. — JG 


Arundhati Roy: ‘The Pandemic is A Portal’? 

Amy Goodman’s Democracy Now! interview introduced me to author and human rights activist Arundhati Roy and her recent editorial contribution to the Financial Times. Her essay looks at the complex threat of coronavirus to India (and the world) and ends with the most comprehensive and optimistic, call-to-action summation of our current reality that I have yet read: “Historically, pandemics have forced humans to break with the past and imagine their world anew. This one is no different. It is a portal, a gateway between one world and the next. We can choose to walk through it, dragging the carcasses of our prejudice and hatred, our avarice, our data banks and dead ideas, our dead rivers and smoky skies behind us. Or we can walk through lightly, with little luggage, ready to imagine another world. And ready to fight for it”. — GR 


‘High Maintenance’ 

This is a nice show and I binged watched the whole thing. I think they’re still making episodes so that’s always cool.?— JG 


The Mushroom at the End of The World: On the Possibility of Life in Capitalist Ruin by Anne Lowenhaupt Tsing 

This should be required reading for all humans. Anne Lowenhaupt Tsing follows the most expensive mushroom in the world, the Matsutake, through its origin stories and commodity chains, to examine capitalist destruction and multi-species collaboration as a means of continual life on our planet. — GR 


Too Loud a Solitude by Bohumil Hrabal 

A friend gave me this book while I was in Vermont for a residency in February. The first chapter read like a race and I was crying by chapter 2 and I wasn’t sure why. It made me want to read the whole thing in one sitting. My plan was to go to a coffee shop and not move for several hours while sucking it all in. I still haven’t finished it. I know this book is so good from the little I did read, and I’m saving it. I’m looking forward to it. I haven’t felt that way about a book in a long time. It’s nice.?— JG 


Silent Running 

Another thing occupying my time lately…in 2016, I received a Nasher Sculpture Center Micro-grant to fund the research and development of a hydroponic sculpture. The project carries with it a science fiction wherein the sculpture, following global economic fallout, becomes the sole remaining possession of its collector, who now must rely on the system for sustenance and survival. The project has largely remained in its conceptual stages. Now, in a strange turn of events and without a spring exhibition to execute, I am currently building a hydroponic garden for The Power Station, where I work as Exhibitions Manager. Douglas Trumbull’s 1972 film?Silent Running?involves a post-post-apocalyptic situation wherein all of Earth’s plant life has gone extinct, and surviving specimens are preserved in geodesic domes aboard a fleet of space freighters. On board, ecologist and botanist Freedman Lowell, accompanied by a droid named Dewey, must defend the ecosystems’ survival at all cost. The film had a place in the early stages of my hydroponics project. It’s worth a watch, with special-effect homages to Kubrick’s?2001: A Space Odyssey?and a couple of epic ballads sung by Joan Baez. — GR 

Nasher Sculpture Center
2001 Flora Street
Dallas, Texas 75201
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