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William Lamson: Hydrologies

Oct 17, 2014 – Jan 10, 2015

William Lamson’s Hydrologies represents two interventionist projects set in opposite hemispheres in which the reciprocal acts of adding and removing water from the landscape become catalysts for generative works.

In Hydrologies Atacama, the artist irrigated linear sections of the Atacama Desert between the months of May and August of 2014. Working with a team of Chileans, Lamson and the crew dispersed water across three strips of the flat gravel plain in an effort to reactive the desert bloom.In Hydrologies Archaea, Lamson removed several gallons of super saline water from the Great Salt Lake, which was installed in an array of glassware a few months prior to the exhibition. As the water evaporates, the salt crystals begin to grow, enveloping the vessels in thick layers of salt. The crystals continue to spread until all of the water evaporates, leaving deposits of calcified remains of hallophilic bacteria.With both of these projects, Lamson engages the material agency of an ecological system and its geologic and cultural history. The dormant halophiles within the salt crystals are part of the animal kingdom Archaea, and are thought to resemble the earliest life on earth for their ability to thrive in harsh environments. The Atacama is the oldest and driest continuous desert, and the plants there have evolved remarkably to withstand these conditions.

By utilizing the unique elements of these two environments, Lamson’s Hydrologies are not only physical reversals of bringing and taking water to and from the landscape, but his gestures ultimately function as alchemic transitions on the brink of dormancy.