The Orthostatic Tolerance: Launching Into an Infinite Space

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Grand Arts Press Release | Grand Arts, Kansas City, MO

Strachan’s Grand Arts project comes after two years of intensive research and hands-on training that has taken him to the Yuri Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center in Star City, Russia. The title of this ongoing, multi-phase project, Orthostatic Tolerance, refers to the stress endured by astronauts and deep-sea divers alike upon exiting and then re-entering the breathable atmosphere of our planet. Testing himself through exertion of body and mind, Strachan’s interest lies in the exploration of boundaries, the limits of human possibility and the experience of being a displaced member of a society where issues such as science, history and modern imperialism converge.

This Grand Arts project features a life-size blown glass diver submerged in a 1700-pound tank filled with 5 tons of mineral oil. Transparent yet distorted, dense yet hollow, the figure appears to float via the illusion of light and material.

The Orthostatic Tolerance investigates the artist’s long-term relationship with his home country, the Bahamas. Strachan has taken steps to establish an Ocean and Aerospace Exploration Agency in Nassau (BASEC) where he can continue his own exploration efforts while fostering those of the community. Strachan is perhaps best known to date for the work, The Distance Between What We Have and What We Want, 2004-06. For this project, Strachan embarked on an Arctic exploration during which he extracted a 4.5-ton block of ice and shipped it to his former grade school in Nassau, where it was kept frozen by a solar-powered freezer. For a year after the Arctic remnant was installed in the sub-tropical environment, Strachan performed lectures in elementary schools throughout the Bahamas. A continuation of this project included sculptures of school desks and chalkboards made from materials native to the Bahamas—calcium carbonate/limestone chalk and graphite—which were featured in Grand Arts’ 2007 group exhibition, From the Fat of the Land: Alchemies, Ecologies, Attractions.

Tavares Strachan and Grand Arts would like to thank the MIT List Visual Arts Center for their assistance and co-production of Orthostatic Tolerance. MIT will present the next phase of the project. Orthostatic Tolerance: It Might Not Be Such a Bad Idea If I Never Went Home, will open at the List Visual Arts Center on May 7th, 2010 on view through July 11th, 2010. More information on the MIT presentation of this project can be found at