Light Years : Conceptual Art and the Photograph 1964-1977

Edited by Matthew S. Witkovsky
Chicago: The Art Institute of Chicago, 2011, 264 pp.

Excerpted from a book review written for Ciel Variable Magazine, no. 94 (2013)

The title phrase of this catalogue, Light Years, is a pun on an oft-misused term. Although widely thought to refer to a measurement of time, it is actually an astronomic unit measuring the distance travelled by light over one year. What meanings can this term have when applied to a historical survey exhibition of photographic practices around 1970? Aside from the obvious reading (the period 1964–77 as a span of time captured by the camera’s mechanical register of light), one could propose an analogy between the space–time equation of the light-year unit and the spatial immediacy and temporal anteriority proposed by Roland Barthes in his 1964 essay Rhetoric of the Image. As a cultural signifier, the photograph exists both as an object in the present and as a seemingly faithful representation of the past – the viewer’s interpretation is dependent upon the correspondences between the two…

Lancement: Le jeudi 9 mai 2013, dès 17h00
Lieu : Le Café de la Cinémathèque québécoise
335, boul. de Maisonneuve Est
Métro Berri-UQAM

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