History of Art and Architecture

Lily Brewer Colloquium

Wednesday, October 18, 2017 - 12:00pm

Room 202, Frick Fine Arts Building

“From Dust to Dust: William Lamson's A Line Describing the Sun

If planetarity is, according to Elias and Burges, “a social model that understands time as structured by the needs of living systems, ecologically entwined,” how do contemporary artistic practices contend with this concept given the contemporary conditions of the Anthropocene? For A Line Describing the Sun, William Lamson fastens a Fresnel lens on top of a wheeled contraption he built in order to inscribe an arc in a dry lakebed for twelve hours in an unnamed location of the Mojave Desert. Can singular, geologic activations, such as in Lamson’s example, stand in for and represent planetary operations? If, as Lucy Lippard argues that “local landscapes reflect global crises,” how does the relationship between the local and the planetary function? If indeed planetarity understands the subject as a provisional placeholder on this earth, then planetarity and planetary models establish the necessary and sufficient conditions under which symbiotic relationships can form between the earth and contemporary, ecologically-minded aesthetic regimes.