Skip to content
Express to
your inbox

Sign up for the High Line newsletter for the latest updates, stories, events & more.

Please enter a valid email address!
Thanks for signing up, we'll be in touch soon!
Photo by Timothy Schenk

Mika Rottenberg

Bowls Balls Souls Holes

January 2016 – March 2016

High Line Channel 14, 14th Street Passage, on the High Line at West 14th Street

January 7 – March 9, 2016
5:00 PM daily until the park closes

Mika Rottenberg concocts eminently imaginative videos and installations, from which new, strange worlds – only slightly askew from our own – are born. Her videos are often initially presented within custom-built installations that mirror the sets, props, and characters from within the videos themselves, extending the reality of the moving images beyond the screen. Starring a variety of people who independently market and perform their unique physical qualities – for example, Heather Foster, a champion bodybuilder; Queen Raqui, a “squasher” and activist within the plus-size community; and Tall Kat, a six-foot-nine woman from Arizona – Rottenberg’s videos compose a fanciful factory of characters who manipulate materials in an absurdist parallel to the Fordist assembly line. Referencing the inventive and compelling storytelling of the infomercials that have inspired her, Rottenberg explains, “it’s magic – finding little solutions for things that were not necessarily a problem.”

Presented on High Line Channel 14, Bowls Balls Souls Holes is inspired by what the artist terms “the production of luck,” and is set primarily inside a bingo hall in Harlem that Rottenberg frequented during her research for the piece. Featuring  regulars of the bingo hall – primarily women – as well as Gary “Stretch” Turner, the Guinness World Record holder for the most clothespins pinned to one’s face (one hundred sixty-one), the video imagines different possibilities for what it could mean to produce – and consume – luck. As if trapped in a dream – part reality, part impossibility – Bowls Balls Souls Holes circles around labyrinthine sets, always turning a new corner that hovers between strange and familiar, where the uncanny becomes the norm.

Organized by Melanie Kress, High Line Art Associate Curator.

Photos by Timothy Schenck.

Artist bio

Mika Rottenberg (b. 1976, Argentina) was raised in Israel and lives and works in New York. Recent solo exhibitions have been featured at Jupiter Artland Foundation, Edinburgh, Scotland (2015); The Rose Art Museum, Waltham, MA (2014); The Israel Museum, Jerusalem (2013); Nottingham Contemporary, Nottingham, England (2012); de Appel arts centre, Amsterdam (2011); and San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, CA (2010). Notable group exhibitions include FUTURE PRESENT, the Schaulager, Münchenstein, Switzerland (2015); The New Human, Moderna Museet Malmö, Malmö, Sweden, in collaboration with The Julia Stoschek Collection (2015); Sights and Sounds: Global Film and Video, The Jewish Museum, New York (2014); and Harvest, Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane, Australia (2014). Rottenberg’s work has been featured in major biennials including the 56th and 54th Venice Biennales (2015, 2011); the Taipei Biennial (2014); the Istanbul Biennial (2013); and the Whitney Biennial, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (2008).


Major support for High Line Art comes from Donald R. Mullen, Jr. and The Brown Foundation, Inc. of Houston. Additional funding is provided by The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, and Dorothy Lichtenstein. High Line Art is supported, in part, with public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the New York City Council and from the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.