TURF Talk: A Hidden Super Bowl Gem

If you haven’t yet been to see TURF: IDADA Art Pavilion, make the trip to 202 N. Alabama St. before Super Sunday draws to a close. It’s possible that the Super Bowl won’t be a once-in-a-lifetime experience for Naptowers after all, but stepping into a 1930s-era séance probably will be.

The pavilion is housed at the old City Hall, aka the temporary Central Library during that building’s construction, aka the former Indiana State Museum. This is no staid black-turtleneck scene. Video installations will satisfy the excitement-oriented football crowd. They include Culture Is a Gun by Artur Silva, which incorporates images of protests, George W. Bush, and Kanye West; Mediated Terrain by Greg Hull (the artist who created the “breathing” red balloons in the airport’s parking garage), where the visitor walks over a bridge and is surrounded by a “waterfall” of video screens and astroturf landscape; and Better or Worse by C. Thomas Lewis, which will give you flashbacks to your last eye exam.

Then there’s the creepy Step on This Side of the Curtain, a Victorian-era parlor room with audio from a 1930s-era seance, and flickering lights. If you’re afraid of the dark, you can keep the curtain slightly open, but that probably was not the intent of artist Holly Streekstra.

There’s also plenty for local-history buffs. A Rapid Validation, by Mike Lyons, features references to auto racing, and Fanfare for Mayor Charles Bookwalter, by Kipp Normand, is in the old mayor’s office from the building’s City Hall days. Made with found objects, including old instruments, Mayor Bookwalter—who served from 1906-1910 and advocated for the construction of the building and the city’s future—did not ultimately win reelection, nor did he ever have a seat in that particular office.

While the individual exhibits intrigue, the entire experience arrests. It might serve as a welcome respite from the din of downtown (although there were more people on Tuesday afternoon than I had expected). And some of the exhibits—such as Switch v. 2.0 by Jeff Martin, where visitors turn on nightlights by walking in front of them—are probably most enjoyable without a crowd. But just remember, when you go to a séance, use the buddy system.

(Bonus: See our interview with Mark Ruschman, coordinator of the IDADA Art Pavilion.)