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The PODs are here! Strange containers to be spread around Houston — and they want to warp your reality

The PODs are here! Strange containers to be spread around Houston

Tarra Gaines Houston Arts Alliance POD installations PODA 2.0 February 2015 Invasive Species exterior
Invasive Species exterior. Photo by Tarra Gaines
Tarra Gaines Houston Arts Alliance POD installations PODA 2.0 February 2015 Elaine Bradford and Emily Link 2
Invasive Species by Elaine Bradford and Emily Link. Photo by Tarra Gaines
Tarra Gaines Houston Arts Alliance POD installations PODA 2.0 February 2015 Cyclical City
Repurposing Cyclical City with cardboard cityscape. Photo by Tarra Gaines
Tarra Gaines Houston Arts Alliance POD installations PODA 2.0 February 2015 Brandon Ray, left, and Rob Mozell
Brandon Ray, left, and Rob Mozell of Repurposing Cyclical City. Photo by Tarra Gaines
Tarra Gaines Houston Arts Alliance POD installations PODA 2.0 February 2015 Park on Demand 2
Park On Demand Space (...greener on the other side) by Troy Stanley. Photo by Tarra Gaines
Tarra Gaines Houston Arts Alliance POD installations PODA 2.0 February 2015 Invasive Species exterior
Tarra Gaines Houston Arts Alliance POD installations PODA 2.0 February 2015 Elaine Bradford and Emily Link 2
Tarra Gaines Houston Arts Alliance POD installations PODA 2.0 February 2015 Cyclical City
Tarra Gaines Houston Arts Alliance POD installations PODA 2.0 February 2015 Brandon Ray, left, and Rob Mozell
Tarra Gaines Houston Arts Alliance POD installations PODA 2.0 February 2015 Park on Demand 2

Look out, Houston! We’re about to be invaded by POD people, and they’re bent upon warping our perception of reality.

OK, technically these POD-ists are artists commissioned by the Houston Arts Alliance with support from the city of Houston, to create new art in a defined space, in this case a POD storage container, but the PODS will still be roaming among us, out to get us . . .  to open our minds about where to find great art in our city.

One of the main objectives of PODA 2.0 (Portable On Demand Art) is to move art into and throughout the entire metro area, Houston Arts Alliance President Jonathon Glus explained at the project launch Friday at the White Oak Conference Center.

There’s so many places — centralized, stationary places — to go see art in Houston, so why the big push to push art out into odd corners of the city? Well perhaps District A city council member Brenda Stardig, who was also in attendance at the launch, might have explained it best.

 Like downtown itself, Cyclical City will look very different from day to night as the buildings light up from within. 

“Public art plays a significant role in how we perceive our environment and the impact on the quality of life for our citizens,” she said.

Though the four POD enclosed works are very different, they all do seem to challenge viewers to think, and maybe even rethink, how we interact with the interior and exterior Houston spaces in our daily lives. So be on the look out for one of these PODA pieces at a site near you.

Repurposing Cyclical City, Brandon Ray and Team Paper Brain, 2015

The downtown skyline will ramble through the city, and even (gasp) into the suburbs thanks to this POD. Ray and his Paper Brain team wanted to recreate our favorite and most familiar skyscrapers but by using material almost the exact opposite of steel and glass: Repurposed paper, cardboard and even trash. Like downtown itself, Cyclical City will look very different from day to night as the buildings light up from within.

Ray says he also looks forward to seeing how our abundance of sun and humidity will likely reshape and change the piece in the coming months.

Interior of Park On Demand Space (...greener on the other side), Troy Stanley, 2015

This work at first appears the simplest of the roving spaces, with an artificial grass floor and two mirrored walls, but with the use of lights and two way mirrors on the third wall, Stanley expands space. Lay out a blanket, have a picnic and think about how we interact with parks and green spaces in our urban environment. 

Invasive Species, Elaine Bradford and Emily Link, 2015

Both Bradford and Link work in a “soft sculpture style,” and both love the type of “old school dioramas” from museums, explained Link, so when they began to work together they pooled their skills to create a changing environment that tells its own story. The piece will evolve as Bradford and Link make alterations over time so the invasive crochet and felt alien creatures will begin to take over this strangely beautiful landscape.

Look at Me, Thomas Rolls, 2015

This automated video POD piece was having a few technical glitches at launch time, so I didn’t get a full peek at the interior. Still I predict this will be a favorite among Houstonians who probably won’t be able to resist an immersive and interactive work that comes with the warning: “This experience may result in intense sensory stimulation. Avoid participation if you have a heart condition, high blood pressure, irregular heart rhythms, a previous heart attack or an implanted pacemaker.”

The PODA 2.0 PODs will remain at the White Oak Conference Center through Thursday before they begin their invasion. Check them out one or several of them at the following sites and don’t be surprised as art invades your own little corner of the city. 

February 19 – March 13, San Jacinto College South
February 19 - March 13, Bush Intercontinental Airport (Cell Phone Parking Lot)
February 20 – May 1, Houston Community College SE,
February 20 - April 11, Leonel Castillo Community Center
April 10 – May 1, Hiram Clarke Multi-Service Center
April 11 – May 2, Houston Community College Central
May 2 – May 28, Oyster Creek ParkSugar Land