The Alabama Theater/Bookstop/Empty Wasteland: Not Dead Yet

The Alabama Theater/Bookstop/Empty Wasteland: Not Dead Yet
Photo by Katharine Shilcutt

The Alabama Bookstop isn't even cold in its grave yet and it's getting ready for a reincarnation. And it's a reincarnation back to its movie-house roots.

The Houston Cinema Arts Society is putting together its first film festival, and as part of it there will be....well, something that sounds very arty and modern, but it's movie-related and it's going into the Alabama space.

We'll let them describe it:

Part art gallery, part cinema, a state-of-the-art device called H BOX featuring video and short films by 10 artists, arrives Wednesday, October 21, 2009 as part of the Houston Cinema Arts Society's 2009 Cinema Arts Festival Houston.

The Festival, a vibrant multimedia arts event breaking out of the confines of the movie theater through live music and film performances, outdoor projections, interactive video installations and more, is set for November 11-15 at cultural locales throughout Houston.

H BOX, the portable screening room designed by Portuguese artist/architect Dider Fiuza Faustino and sponsored by the Hermès Foundation, will be stationed at the historic Alabama Theatre through the close of the Festival on November 15.

And what is this "H Box"? The H has nothing to do with Houston, if that's what you're thinking.

Consisting of collapsible aluminum and acrylic glass modules that can be assembled, disassembled and transported easily, H BOX is literally made up of moving parts. These parts, together with the commissions shown within it, suggest the fluidity of video while also harkening back to the older, stationary camera obscura. H BOX is characteristic of the work of designer Didier Fiuza Faustino in that it crosses a wide range of activities including architecture, performance, installation and film.

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It's been displayed, or whatever the word would be, throughout Europe.

"There really could not be a piece more perfect than H BOX to be stationed at our Festival headquarters," says Richard Herskowitz, who is curating the festival. "The video artists collected here are expanding the range of video as an audio-visual art form, and they have been celebrated for this at major museums and art biennials. We want our Festival to expose people not only to such fine media art, but also to new ways, beyond traditional theaters, of engaging with innovative media."

After the festival, the H Box will be transformed into yet another soulless Barnes & Noble which will include a Starbucks and be located within 100 yards of two other Starbucks. Or at least it will if Weingarten Realty gets its hands on it.

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