Last year I discovered a small local concert series called Internal/ Eternal that overhead projection artist Rachel Orosco and musician and wizard of tarot Tom Carter host in their home. From there, I was invited to perform twice at their monthly concerts and to attend their weekly salon for sharing rare records and international art films. Their concerts are always a portal to an intimate experience that exists outside of linear time and space that showcases the city’s most experimental musicians and performance-based artists. Scrolling through my Instagram feed a few weeks back, I learned that Internal/ Eternal was the recipient of a large grant from the Mayor’s Office and the Houston Arts Alliance. So, I took the opportunity to interview them about their plans by correspondence for Byline Houston.
Byline Houston: How and why did you start Internal/ Eternal salon and concert series?
Internal/ Eternal: Internal/ Eternal started when we were living in Brooklyn. We wanted to launch a concert series that would encourage first-time collaborations that might not happen otherwise, pull performers across genres and out of their comfort zones, and break out of the mold of “audience watches band.” To us, the audiences are collaborators just as much as the musicians are. When we moved to Houston, we envisioned the series as smaller, salon-style events, and we eventually incorporated film and record nights since Houston has relatively few outlets for experiencing experimental media.
Byline Houston: What does this grant mean for Internal/ Eternal? Will this project be called something else, or will you stick with the current name?
I/E: Eternal 30 is the name of our project. Internal/ Eternal’s salons and performances have been resolutely underground up until now, but this generous award from Houston Arts Alliance and the Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs obviously puts us in a much brighter spotlight. The grant will likely raise our profile not only in Texas, but also internationally, and make it easier for us to host great music and performance in the future.
Byline Houston: What is your inspiration for Eternal 30?
I/E: We have always admired La Monte Young and Marian Zazeela’s Dream House, a 24/ 7 drone and pink neon installation in their Tribeca loft in New York City. While this isn’t a direct homage in any way — ours is meant to be more a celebration of collaboration and community — the idea of a continuously sounding space is irresistible.
Byline Houston: What plans do you have in store for the city? Can you share details?
I/E: With the money from HAA and the City of Houston, we’re going to create a 30-day sound and light installation inside a temporary gallery in an as-yet-undisclosed piece of vacant real estate. We will invite collaborators from Houston, elsewhere in Texas, and internationally to activate and grow the space over the course of the installation.
Byline Houston: Do you have any information about the visual elements of the installation that you can share?
I/E: Colored light and projections are a key component in the space, and will run 24/7 in such a way that visitors can view even while the gallery isn’t open. Some of the visual elements will be static, some active, and they will evolve over the course of the installation.
Byline Houston: When will Eternal 30 begin?
I/E: That will depend on what kind of space we’re able to find and when it’s available, but ideally Eternal 30 will occur throughout May or September — we are trying to avoid staging it during the summer for obvious reasons.
Byline Houston: Have you selected your ideal neighborhood for the location yet? If it’s not a secret, where is it?
I/E: Not yet! Ideally we would land in a neighborhood accessible by transit and with at least some amount of foot traffic. We are hoping to find a space that is intimate enough for introspection but large enough to host larger audiences during scheduled performance times.
Byline Houston: Who are you bringing in? Any names you’d like to share?
I/E: No one is confirmed yet, but we are considering some internationally known artists who rarely perform in Houston, as well as artists from Austin, Dallas, Denton, and San Antonio, and of course several local Houston artists. We hope to solidify ties across the greater Texas underground scene as well as to introduce Houstonians to artists who rarely make it to Texas.
Byline Houston: Are you open to submissions?
I/E: While we are always interested in discovering new artists for our events, it is unlikely that we would explicitly solicit submissions. Instead, we prefer to explore the arts landscape in search of singular voices which are personal, visionary, and liberated from conventional genre boundaries. We think carefully about the balance of performers, artists, and musicians and how each fits within our vision for a given event. That said, we are certainly open to previewing unanticipated submissions with an open mind. For more information and to clue us in to your artistic practice, follow us on Facebook or Instagram.
Byline Houston: Will artists and musicians be paid?
I/E: Certainly. In applying for this grant, we were particularly excited about the opportunity to compensate all of the artists involved. There is an unfortunate attitude pervading the art world that everyone is OK with not getting paid, and it hinders artists’ ability to sustain a devoted practice.
I am absolutely elated that Houston will get to share in the experience of Eternal 30. Keep your eyes peeled, because Byline will be keeping you up to date on this thrilling incoming project. If their concert series are even a hint of what this team of two are capable of curating, I can only imagine the tour de force that Eternal 30 will be.