Bruce Lindsey, Prairie DuPont Levee, East Carondelet, IL, February 13, 2013.

Exhibition: Topographic Memory

October 1, 2017 - October 18, 2017
Weitman Gallery, Lower Level, Steinberg Hall

Topographic Memory features the work of Bruce Lindsey, the E. Desmond Lee Professor for Community Collaboration, who served as dean of the College of Architecture and Graduate School of Architecture & Urban Design from 2006-2017. The exhibition is on view October 1-18 in Weitman Gallery.

Artist Statement

"For me the noise of Time is not sad: I love bells, clocks, watches—and I recall that at first photographic implements were related to techniques of cabinetmaking and the machinery of precision: cameras, in short, were clocks for seeing, and perhaps in me someone very old still hears in the photographic mechanism the living sound of the wood." —Roland Barthes, Camera Lucida: Reflections on Photography

The word landscape comes from topos, meaning place, and graphein, to write. Literally meaning a "portion of land which the eye can comprehend at a glance," landscape in its early usage meant not the view itself but a painting of the view. Landscape architect and author J.B. Jackson defines landscape as "a composition of man-made or man-modified spaces to serve as infrastructure or background for our collective existence." Buildings are expressive, in part, because they "appear to be constructed." Landscapes and photographs, on the other hand, often fool us by appearing to be real or natural. They are also constructed.

Photographs record the moment of seeing, the "there then," and also anticipate being seen themselves, the "here now." Given that a photograph can only present the past, landscape photographs present a past that no longer exists, given the dynamic context of landscape. Barthes counters this loss by describing cameras as "clocks for seeing [remembering]." While the moment is often short, and measured in tenths of a second, for the photographer, the seconds add up. So do the photographs.

One of my favorite photographs, done by artist and friend Stephen Goldsmith, consisted of a group of photographs in a sealed box that was inscribed: One Second: 125 photographs @ 125th of a second. I have 5,376 photographs of Forest Park spanning eight years. I remember taking each one. This exhibition includes 10. It also includes three pairs of images contrasting landscapes that appear to be constructed and those that don't.