Sixty years after their incarnation, the beats continue to exercise a formidable grip on cultural life on both sides of the Atlantic. With recent films based on Jack Kerouac’s On the Road and Big Sur; with a cinematic reconstruction of the writing of Allen Ginsberg’s Howl and the subsequent trial against its publisher, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, for allegedly distributing pornography; with Daniel Radcliffe leaving Harry Potter behind to play a young Allen Ginsberg at Columbia University (in the film Kill Your Darlings, which charts the birth of the beats); and with a very major, very ace new biography of William S Burroughs by Barry Miles just published, it can easily be argued that we are in the middle of a significant beat revival.
Brazilian artist Henrique Oliveira recently completed work on his largest installation to date at Museu de Arte Contemporânea da Universidade in São Paulo. Oliveira uses the repurposed wood pieces as a skin nailed to an organic framework that looks intentionally like a large root system. Because the space provided by the museum was so immense, the artist expanded the installation into a fully immersive environment where viewers are welcome to enter the artwork and explore the cavernous interior.