See Surreal Art Installations At This Hypnotic Underground Chamber In Houston

Colby Smith Colby Smith

See Surreal Art Installations At This Hypnotic Underground Chamber In Houston

The subterranean Buffalo Bayou Park Cistern is one of Houston’s most unique art gallery experiences.

“Underground” has long been the moniker to describe art, music, and film outside the mainstream passed, traded, and discussed by those in the know. In Houston, the underground art scene could mean just that, or, it could refer to the art scene literally underground at the Buffalo Bayou Park Cistern. [Featured image: @lawrenceeliz]

Oft cited as a Houston oddity, the Buffalo Bayou Park Cistern is a historic drinking water reservoir that was built back in 1926. It spans around 87,500 square feet, supported by 221 25-foot tall concrete columns placed throughout the space. When in use, the cistern is capable of storing up to 15 million gallons of water.

As visitors will undoubtedly notice, the cistern is now virtually empty. That’s because back in 2007, officials discovered an irreparable leak, resulting in the reservoir’s decommissioning in 2007.

Rather than demolish the area, however, city officials partnered with Buffalo Bayou Partnership to repurpose the unusual and fascinating space into a subterranean art venue.

Since 2016, the Cistern has housed a kaleidoscopic mix of fascinating multimedia art installations and video projections.


From now until January 17, 2021, visitors can experience the immersive Time No Longer installation from multimedia artist, Anri Sala:

“Time No Longer [incorporates] film projected onto a translucent, 22 by 150-foot (7 by 45-meter) screen with a soundtrack emanating throughout the space, its reverberations creating ripples on the surface of the water,” Buffalo Bayou Partnership writes on their website. “Visitors will encounter the work in 360 degrees by making their way around the full perimeter of the 87,500-square-foot Cistern, hearing, feeling, and watching it through the Cistern’s 221 supporting columns.”

Visitors can read more about the immersive installation here.

The experience lasts for about 30 minutes. Tickets run for $12 for persons aged 9 years and older, or $8 for seniors, military, and students. As a safety precaution, no one under 9 years old are permitted in the Cistern. Admission is free on Thursday; however, tickets must be purchased in advance.

See also: Great Wolf Lodge Waterpark To Make Waves In Houston Area This Year

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