Clouded Points of Access: Phantoms in the Dirt at the Museum of Contemporary Photography

Clouded Points of Access

Phantoms in the Dirt at the Museum of Contemporary Photography

Recently I got the chance to write about a photography exhibit at the Museum of Contemporary Art. It was published on Artslant

What first reads like an astral constellation is in fact a photograph whose blackness is broken only by the erratic swarm of dead insect bodies. Greg Stimac’s Santa Fe to Billings (2009) documents the choreography of the countless lives his windshield intersected on a drive between locales. The momentum of each smash is evident—guts smear and spray across the surface, recording innumerable tiny accidents. To create this piece, Stimac placed an 8 x 10 inch sheet of Plexiglass on the hood of his car. Upon arriving to his final destination—Billings, in this case—he used the car’s cigarette lighter to scan the resulting plate, thereby producing the final 20 x 30 inch photograph. This piece—its documentary mode, its gritty surface, its use of technology—is the perfect beginning for the Museum of Contemporary Photography’s Phantoms in the Dirt, a group exhibition curated by Karsten Lund, which currently showcases sixteen artists. In each work lies a theoretical straw: something the viewer grasps with sudden exuberance and recognition—Yes! Bugs spatter on my car too!—only to bump into larger questions, mysteries, and catastrophes thereafter. Stimac’s insects might provoke anxiety in the viewer about her own mortality, or encapsulate an expression of violence both sickening and banal, or even illustrate humanity’s omniscient relationship to its environment. Like the early efforts to prove the existence of an afterlife by capturing spirits on photographic paper, Phantoms in the Dirt presents the enigmatic trick of landscape photography, stirring up powerful questions about authenticity, mechanical illusion, and existential meaning in the process. read more

Robert Burnier

The Matter of Invisible Energy

An Interview with Robert Burnier

I was happy for the chance to extend my conversation with Burnier; this interview went live a couple days ago on Artslant —

Chicago, Sep. 2014: Robert Burnier has a large body of work on display this fall at multiple locations all over the city. In addition to Inland Deltaa solo show in the West Loop at Andrew Rafacz Gallery, he is part of The Chicago Effect: Redefining the Middle at the Hyde Park Art Center on Chicago’s South Side, and presents a separate collaborative project, Inside Space, with artists Jason Lazarus and Molly Brandt at the Riverside Arts Center. As Burnier describes it, this latter project “investigates what is hidden and elusive” in material experience, isolating “what is activated for us by voids and gaps.” It’s a bundle of themes that reoccurs throughout his work. Finally his IN/SITU presentation will open at EXPO Chicago this week where the artist was curated by Renaud Proch.

Clearly Burnier is having a moment. It is exciting to witness. With a background in computer science and painting, his sculptural works interrogate material and philosophical concerns. In one ongoing series, he begins with a flat piece of aluminum, folding it methodically until further folds are no longer possible. The resulting elegantly crumpled objects are covered with a layer of matte paint, and thereafter appear like crumpled balls of thick paper; they evoke the residue of vibrant energies — sitting like cast aside experiments whose original purpose is not longer accessible. Burnier’s work reintroduces the process of thinking as a final object in and of itself.

Caroline Picard: Is there any synergy between the different contexts and sites where you are currently presenting work?

Robert Burnier: Given the theme of Inland Delta, my solo show, it’s been serendipitous to have different views of my work in disparate locales. To me, it all gathers around the solo show at the gallery, which becomes a kind of central node. I hope people will get something special out of piecing the different locales together if they happen to see my work in more than one place. read more


Excerpts from The 1821 North Georgia Gazette, Winter Chronicle nos. 1-3

Originally POSTED ON  on the now-defunct Lantern Daily blog

In honor of the most recent Green Lantern exhibit, Isolated Fictions, this week I’m going to post a variety of smaller bits and pieces from the December 9, 1819 issue of The North Georgia Gazette. Also, I’ve been culling images, in particular, from this site which contains a history of expeditions for The Northwest Passage.

Winter Chronicle No. 1

To The Editor of The Winter Chronicle.


A remark which appeared in your first Number, that you were willing to “admit questions which may exercise the ingenuity of your readers,” &c., has encouraged me to propose one, which, perhaps may be considered as answering that description. It is said that instances have occurred of the sinking of ice, and this in seas (for example of Spitzbergen and Davis’ Straights) nearly as salt as the main ocean, and which the temperature is seldom or never more than ten degrees about the freezing point of salt-water. It is evident that the ice cannot sink till its specific gravity exceed that of the fluid in which it is immersed. I should be glad to be informed by any of your Correspondents, by what possible combination of circumstances so unusual a condition might be brought about.

I am, Mr. Editor,

&c. &c &c.,


To The Editor of The Winter Chronicle

Mr. Editor–I wish you well–indeed I do–but the more I try to compose anything for the paper, the more stupid I find myself. Being desiroius, however, to offer my humble services in some way or other, this is to inform you, that I am a tolerable hand at making pens, though but an indifferent one at using them; and I cannot help thinking, that I might be of use to several of your Correspondents, for I judge by their styles, that some of them write with too hard a pen, and some with a very soft one. I could mention three of four, whose cramped manner indicates a devilish stiff nib, Mr. Editor, and as many whose pens have certainly no point at all. i confess thatthepens of most of your Correspondents require little or no mending, but even the best of them would be be the worse for a fresh nib, which might, perhaps, set them a-going with fresh vigor–so if you choose to employ me in this way, you shall be welcome to the humble services of



Winter Chronicle No. 2


Bill of Damages Referred to in the Foregoing Memorial

To a sever fit of headache, on receiving news of the said affair.

To a two-hours’ lecture from my wife, for daring to be sick without her leave.

To pay of six strong-lunged hawkers, for crying about the “Defense of Reporter Trim,” for two days.

To the hire of two female ballad-singers, a bankrupt bellows-mender, and a dog without a tail, roaring a song calledTrim and Trim’s Ghost, through various streets, lanes and alleys.

To the loss of forty-eight hours’ sleep already, and the probably loss of as many more.

To the cure of a brooken nose, two black eyes, and a scratched face, received from my wife for letting her and the children starve.

To total loss of business, impediments, obstructions, &c. &c., cause by the said fraud.

Winter Chronicle No. 3


WANTED, a middle-aged WOMAN, not above thirty, of good character, to assist in DRESSING the LADIES at the THEATRE. Her salary will be handsome; and she will be allowed tea and small beer into the bargain. None need apply but such as are perfectly acquainted with the business, and can produce undeniable references. –A line addressed to the committee will be duly attended to. –N.B. A widow will be preferred.

WANTED immediately, a few BALES of READY WIT, done up in small parcels for the Winter Chronicle. This article being scarce in the market, a good price may be depended on. Samples will be received by A.B., Agent to the Editor. Please apply on or before Thursday evening next.

LOST, on MOnday evening last, between the two Ships, a PART of a LETTER, giving an acount of the proceedings of the Expedition, with other matters of a private nature, and beginning “My dearest Susan.” –Whoever has found the same is requested to address it, L.A., Editor’s box. N.B. The letter is of no use to anybody but the owner.

FOR SALE BY AUCTION,by NICHOLAS KNOCKDOWN, at the Observatory, on the Coldest Day in January next, A QUANTITY of NANKEEN, the property of a Gentleman, who expected to get into the Pacific in September last.

**Flannels and furs will be gladly taken as payment.

Institutional Garbage: Rowland Saifi

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Rowland Saifi, “Statement for a Configured Curriculum,” 2016

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Institutional Garbage: Fiep van Bodegom

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Fiep van Bodegom, “ongedateerd contract tussen potentiele ouder en ongeboren kind,” The Multinational Book of Contracts: Contracts from the Dutch Institute, 2016