Time As Landscape: Inquiries of Art and Science

Cornell Fine Arts Museum, Rollins College
September 29–December 31, 2017

Wonder—as experience and action—is cultivated mutually through science and art, and contemporary practices in both fields are more kindred than ever. In fact, their synergies have led in recent years to more overt cross-references as well as fruitful and inventive collaborations between artists and scientists. The source of inspiration for this particular exhibition is a selection of artists who desire to understand, question and describe the subject of time: as scientific fact, as relative experience, as aesthetic archive.

The topic is timely as ongoing discussions of STEAM curriculum reverberate in our schools. The preciousness of time is also amplified by growing concerns about the environment and global mortality from a macro perspective to a micro vantage point as individuals struggle to make sense of a faster-paced, connected world where everything runs on the 24-hour news cycle.

Artists include Lucas Arruda, Darren Almond, Rosa Barba, Luis Camnitzer, Julia Dault, Tacita Dean, Noah Doely, Spencer Finch, Charles Gaines, Camille Henrot, On Kawara, Tom LaDuke, Julie Mehretu, Richard Mosse, Trevor Paglen, Howardena Pindell, Thiago Rocha Pitta, Dawn Roe, Tomás Saraceno, Yinka Shonibare, Xaviera Simmons, Sarah Sze, Sara VanDerBeek, and Lawrence Weiner.

For her powerful work The Color Out of Space (2015), Berlin-based Rosa Barba engaged in a yearlong collaboration with scientists at the Hirsch Observatory at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. The resulting installation with its film and sculptural components is a meditation on scientific inquiry and an interrogation of geologic time in human terms.

The Last Pictures, a project conceived by artist Trevor Paglen, documented our human moment and made it durable beyond conceivable time. The artist selected 100 images to express contemporary human existence and crafted, with the aid of scientists, a super-archival gold-plated disc constructed to last billions of years. This artifact was sent into synchronous orbit on the surface of the communications satellite EchoStar XVI in the fall of 2012. The Last Pictures project required years of investigation, collaboration and cross-disciplinary inquiry. Time as Landscape will include a photograph that documents the EchoStar in orbit.

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