Aloha to the World at the Don Ho Terrace, 2018
Banner, signage, rock speakers, soundtrack, vitrine, vintage and personal artifacts
'Aloha to the World at the Don Ho Terrace' transforms the Bronx Museum’s terrace into the entrance of the now-demolished Hotel Miramar in Waikiki.
A 38-foot-tall banner recreates, askew, the hotel’s Chinese-style roof, along with a mosaic mural of the Bodhisattva Guanyin that once dominated the façade. The mural, a 1960s Italian craftsman’s interpretation of a Dunhuang cave painting, is here further printed in low resolution (the image is from Google Street View). The banner drapes over the museum’s awning to create optical illusions from different vantages, heightened by real laser-cut 1-inch thick metallic letters attached over the unfocused image.
Two rock speakers pipe an erhu playing 'Goodbye and Thanks for All the Fish,' the theme song to movie the 'Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy,' sung by dolphins before they abscond to outer space, having given up on humans’ capability to care for Earth. The speakers, one a small coral and the other a large granite chunk, play four sets, each more complex than the previous, in a 22’12” loop. The fourth and eighth sets feature a full orchestral rendition, filtered through a cassette player.
A third component is letters miming the museum’s existing signage re-christening the terrace DON HO TERRACE. In a vitrine in the stairwell, vinyl records identify Don Ho as a Hawaiian lounge singer. The vitrine’s smoked Plexiglas cover is angled to match that of the boxwood in the banner. Contents include 3D printed objects inspired by the hotel’s roof, and vintage promotional paraphernalia: room service menus, matchbooks and ashtray, an ersatz bamboo mug, and a golf-club shaped swizzle stick.
'Aloha to the World at the Don Ho Terrace' is curated by Antonia Sergio Bessa, Director of Curatorial Programs.