HOT ZEN ISLAND exists somewhere between spa, Japanese rock garden, and destruction site. The exhibition's primary material, Hooter's dust, was collected from the restaurant's demolition site. The resulting sculptures and video take their cue from wellness centers. Western reimaginings of the East, and Hooters, once prominently located at the gateway to south Austin. HOT ZEN ISLAND is the result of considering a range of questions such as: what larger cultural shifts does the demolition of Hooters signify? Is obsolescence the format of progress? How does the self-care industry fit within a capitalist system? Does the term "Zen Garden," coined by an American author, speak more to modern ideas than the Japanese gardens it purports to describe? Similarly, has "Zen" been so broadly as to become almost meaningless? Do we link materials and ideas to mysticism to make them sexier? What mythology have we attached to Hooters and will it be immediately forgotten?
Liz Rodda is an Austin-based artist and Associate Professor at TX State University, School of Art & Design.