Devaki Knowles

Best Approximation of the Fall of the Roman Empire

TIE: La Dolce Vita; 'The 24 Hour Roman Reconstruction Project'

Although it took hundreds of years for the Roman Empire to decline and fall, Austinites only needed two nights. The first was the Austin Museum of Art's annual Food and Wine Festival, where Austinites tasted "the sweet life" from more than 50 restaurateurs and liquor purveyors, all on the gorge grounds of Laguna Gloria, prompting visitors to exclaim (we hope), "The whole of Austin is my triclinium!" Look it up, friend. Anyone who can bring art world types, cosplayers, schoolkids, engineers, and historians together is our personal hero, and that's exactly what artist Liz Glynn did with the local iteration of her internationally renowned performance/participation piece The 24 Hour Roman Reconstruction Project at Arthouse last September. A year out and we still remember the father-daughter team studiously building a Roman villa out of cardboard, a group of engineering students ripping apart leaves of drywall, and a prominent historian giving a tour of this ticky-tacky Rome in miniature. Of course, everyone worked hard knowing that come midnight, hundreds of participants would file in to kick, stomp, and tear it all to bits, transforming everyday Austinites into vicious Visigoths and razing the old Arthouse to rubble so that it could be reborn in 2010 – look out, "BOA" 2011!

The Contemporary Austin at Laguna Gloria
3809 W. 35th, 512/458-8191
www.thecontemporaryaustin.org

The Contemporary Austin
700 Congress, 512/453-5312
www.thecontemporaryaustin.org