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Waterloo Greenway’s “Past Deposits from a Future Yet to Come” Turns Everyday Objects into Captivating Art

Renowned artists Teresa Hubbard and Alexander Birchler have created a mesmerizing public video art installation from historic artifacts found in Austin's Waller Creek


A mesmerizing spectacle is on public display in the heart of Waterloo Park’s Moody Amphitheater here in Austin. Buttons, plates, marbles, bottles, coins, bullets, keys, and other historic artifacts cascade in a rhythmic free fall, a choreographed parade suspended in time. This captivating display, Past Deposits from a Future Yet to Come, is a groundbreaking public video art installation by acclaimed artists Teresa Hubbard and Alexander Birchler.

Commissioned by Waterloo Greenway, this installation epitomizes the park’s dedication to showcasing contemporary public art as a catalyst for meaningful community engagement. Hubbard and Birchler, both distinguished professors at the University of Texas at Austin, are renowned for their collaborative work exploring the intersections of history, social life, and memory through film and new media.

Renowned artists and UT processors Alexander Birchler and Teresa Hubbard, who have worked together since 1990.

The genesis of Past Deposits stems from the duo’s deep dive into the history of Waterloo Park and Waller Creek. Unearthing artifacts from the mid-19th to the mid-20th century, stored for years at the Texas Archeological Research Laboratory, Hubbard and Birchler embarked on a year-long journey to meticulously study and reimagine each object. What emerged is a monumental testament to the lives and stories intertwined with Waller Creek’s banks over generations.

Spanning the entire 16-foot x 120-foot wall of the Moody Amphitheater, Past Deposits unveils these artifacts in a larger-than-life scale through intricately detailed image projections. Objects once mundane and overlooked now command attention, their synchronized and asynchronous movements against a dark void inviting contemplation.

But this installation is not merely visual — it’s a multi-sensory experience. Composer Alex Weston’s evocative musical score is synchronized with the video installation, blending seamlessly with the ambient sounds of Waterloo Park. The score is performed live on the opening night with a musical ensemble. Afterward, visitors can listen to it over any personal mobile device in the park when the work is presented in the evenings. 

At its core, Past Deposits serves as a poignant reminder of the individuals who lived and labored along Waller Creek, their stories preserved in the fragments of daily life unearthed by Hubbard and Birchler. Through this work, the artists invite us to reflect on the passage of time, blurring the boundaries between past, present, and future.

The installation’s choreographed procession of artifacts challenges conventional notions of hierarchy, offering a fresh perspective on the significance of everyday objects. What may seem mundane to some becomes imbued with newfound value, serving as tangible links to a past that continues to shape our present.

More than a mere art installation, Past Deposits is a catalyst for critical dialogue and introspection. It prompts us to reconsider our understanding of history and how we perceive our world. As the artifacts drift in a continuous flow, ever moving yet anchored in time, Hubbard and Birchler’s work invites us to ponder the cyclical nature of existence and the enduring legacy of those who came before us.

Scheduled to be on public view for five years, the installation is free and shown every night at Moody Amphitheatre at Waterloo Park, except evenings when a ticketed concert or other special event occurs. Learn more here.