Charles Lindsay: Carbon
Is it so farfetched to think of these as photographs? As pictures of reality? Certainly, they picture the universe at work. . . . It would be a poet’s solution to call these images metaphoric.—Lyle Rexer, from the Foreword
Artists and scientists each have a role to play in telling our human story, and placing us in a cosmic context…. [Lindsay] is stretching the artistic practices of the twenty-first century to visualize alternate worlds. I am trying to detect other evolutionary biologies among the hundreds of billions of worlds within our own Milky Way galaxy. He has a lot to teach me.—Dr. Jill Tarter, from her essay
Over the last decade Charles Lindsay has been exploring the micro- and macrocosms of the universe through the most elemental components of photography: surface, emulsion, and light. The cameraless works in Carbon form a world unto themselves, referencing the essence of life—animal, vegetal, and mineral—on this planet, and imagining possible connections with intelligence systems known and unknown.
Lindsay’s Carbon images have been featured in numerous publications and exhibitions; were recognized through a Guggenheim fellowship; and, through conversations with Dr. Jill Tarter, led to his appointment as the first Artist in Residence (AIR) at the SETI Institute. Lindsay is now the SETI Institute’s AIR Program Director, creating a hybrid platform for artists to engage astro-scientists. Works from Carbon are featured at MassMoCA in the group exhibition Explode Every Day: An Inquiry into the Phenomena of Wonder, on view through October 2016.
Charles Lindsay is a multidisciplinary artist interested in technology, ecosystems, semiotics, and esoteric forms of humor. He creates immersive environments, sound installations, sculptures built from salvaged aerospace and biotech equipment, videos, and photographs. Educated as an exploration geologist, Lindsay worked as a photojournalist in southeast Asia before embracing the possibilities of the digital revolution in his current artistic practice. Lindsay is a Guggenheim Fellow, and recipient of the Robert Rauschenberg Residency, among other accolades. Lindsay’s work has been profiled by NPR, CNN International, Motherboard and Wired online, and has appeared in many international magazines including the New York Times Magazine, Blind Spot, Aperture, Audubon, Parabola, Orion, and GEO. www.charleslindsay.com
Dr. Jill Tarter is a co-founder of the SETI Institute in Mountain View, California, and is Chair of the Board for the California Academy of Sciences. Tarter received her Bachelor of Engineering Physics Degree with Distinction from Cornell University, and her Master’s Degree and a Ph.D. in Astronomy from the University of California, Berkeley. She served as Project Scientist for NASA’s SETI program, the High Resolution Microwave Survey, and has conducted numerous observational programs at radio observatories worldwide. Since the termination of funding for NASA’s SETI program in 1993, she has served in a leadership role to secure private funding to continue this exploratory science. Tarter’s work has brought her wide recognition in the scientific community, including the Lifetime Achievement Award from Women in Aerospace, and two Public Service Medals from NASA. In 2004 Time Magazine named her one of the 100 most influential people in the world, and in 2005 Tarter was awarded the Carl Sagan Prize for Science Popularization at Wonderfest, the biannual San Francisco Bay Area Festival of Science. In 2009 she was awarded the TED Prize.
Tarter is a frequent speaker for science teacher meetings at museums and science centers, bringing her commitment to science and education to both teachers and the public. Many people are familiar with her work as portrayed by Jodie Foster in the movie Contact. www.seti.org
Lyle Rexer is a New York-based writer, curator, and art critic. He is a contributor to photograph magazine, and has written for many others including Art in America, Aperture, Modern Painters, and Parkett. His books include The Edge of Vision: The Rise of Abstraction in Photography and How to Look At Outsider Art. A Rhodes Scholar, he serves on the faculty at School of Visual Arts in New York City and has received recognition from the Andy Warhol Foundation and Creative Capital for his contributions to the field.