The Center for Land Use Interpretation Newsletter

Taking the Shows on the Road


Large format photographs from the CLUI were featured in an exhibition curated by Charles Hood

CLUI EXHIBITS AND PROJECTS OFTEN travel to other locations. Sometimes too projects are commissioned for other venues and other contexts, or are developed with students as part of a pedagogical exercise, or exist in order to explore some new idea on an experimental or provisional basis.

Internationally in 2011, CLUI exhibits were adapted and shown in Germany (at the Hartware MedienKunstVerein at Dortmunder University in Dortmund); in Barcelona, Spain (at the Centre d’Arts Contemporànices), in Brazil (at the 8th Bienal do Mercosul, in Porto Alegre), in the UK (at the Architecture Foundation, in London), and in New Zealand (at the Unitec Institute of Technology, in Auckland).

In Canada, the CLUI was invited to work with students at the Yukon School of Visual Arts, at Dawson City. Led by their teacher, Charles Stankievech, the class looked at points of interest in their town, following the methodology of the CLUI, and the dominant regional themes of mining, historic interpretation, tourism, and first nations. The class produced an exhibition of their work, and a 44-page publication called Dawson City: Mining the Interpretive Realm of the Klondike that serves as guidebook to points of interest in the region. The project was directed remotely, via telephone conferences between Culver City and Dawson City (as were other projects in the Over the Wire series, which has included projects with Gary Hill, Lawrence Wiener and Iain Baxter).

In the United States, CLUI exhibits and photographs were shown at a variety of venues, including at the Museum of Contemporary Photography in Chicago (as part of an exhibition called Public Works), and in the subways and buses of the Los Angeles public transportation system. On November 17, an excerpt from the CLUI’s Through the Grapevine Landscan screened on Los Angeles Metro buses all day during the last 5 minutes of every hour, as part of the program Out the Window, and the CLUI program You Are/Are Not Here is still on display in the Normandie/Wilshire Metro Station.

Between March 10 and July 3, 2011, a collection of CLUI photographs was featured in an exhibit at the Utah Museum of Fine Art in Salt Lake City. The exhibit, called The Smithson Effect, curated by Jill Dawsey, explored the influence of the artist Robert Smithson (maker of nearby Spiral Jetty), and was the most ambitious contemporary art exhibition ever organized by the Museum. It included works by Vik Muniz, Tacita Dean, Lee Renaldo, and 19 others. On April 2, CLUI Director Matthew Coolidge presented a talk and participated in a discussion with Sam Durant, Melanie Smith, and Jill Dawsey.

The collection of CLUI images assembled for the exhibit depicted views and features of the marshland at the margins of the Great Salt Lake as viewed from approaching and departing commercial aircraft flying in and out of Salt Lake City International Airport. None of the CLUI images, all taken out the window over the past ten years, were adjusted in any way except to fit them to the frame of the large LCD screen on which they were shown in a continuous loop. The point was to show what anyone with even a rudimentary digital camera would see and could photograph flying in and out of the airport.

The project expands on Robert Smithson’s unrealized proposals for the Dallas-Fort Worth Regional Airport in 1966. He imagined making a landscape of shaped forms beyond the runways to be seen from the air by passengers flying in and out of the airport, and made drawings that described things like “Wandering Earth Mounds and Gravel Paths.” The CLUI photographs suggest that this type of aesthetic experience exists, fully realized, in the landscape under the northern path of commercial traffic at Salt Lake City International Airport, where a complex network of pools, paths, channels, mounds and swaths exist in a scale-less, gossamer fringescape, the evolving outcome of the inextricable interaction between man-made constructions and non-human forces. ♦