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29 June 2013

Lauren Bon and the Optics Division, Silver and water

In 2010 Lauren Bon invited artists, scientists, and inventors to convene in the dusty playa of the Owen’s dry lakebed. Her vision was to make a film of the landscape out of the landscape. Using handmade pinhole cameras, and a developer formulated from the dust of the lakebed the group successfully produced a short 16mm film.

It was here that the Optics Division was formed. Over the following two years Rich Nielsen, Tristan Duke, Guy Hatzvi, and Josh White have explored the construction of a truly Indexical Image, a complete representation.

The Liminal Camera emerged as a tool that closes the gap between subject and object. The Optics Division works at that very threshold; the photographers must enter the liminal space of the camera. The Liminal Camera is not a static object, neither is it a fixed destination, rather it is a threshold, a meeting place, a vehicle traversing the intersection between the world and its representation.

Having built this vehicle the team documents the signature projects of The Metabolic Studio—operating on the site of a 32 acre brownfield that Ms Bon’s Not a Cornfield transformed and which is adjacent to the Los Angeles River where her new work, Madre, will soon bend the LA river back into the city. Monolithic ruins of bygone industries at the edges of environmental damaged lakes trace the end of industries. However The Optics Division’s handmade processing and silver mining allude to the independent maker of images and the alchemy of silver and water.

Exposition coproduced by the Rencontres d’Arles, Lauren Bon and the Optics Division of the Metabolic Studio.

Artist presented by Alison Nordström for the Discovery Award.

Exhibition venue: Atelier de Mécanique, Parc des Ateliers, Rencontres d’Arles 2013.