Dan Carlson: SUBLIME TRAJECTORIES

Sublime Trajectories 1 (1)Sublime Trajectories is an arrangement of relics from the recent past that reference the Cold War Space Race, the Viking funeral pyre ceremony, and imagery from Alejandro Jodorowsky’s The Holy Mountain. On view July 20th – August 1st. Opening July 20th, 6-8pm.

During the Cold War, President Kennedy made it a national priority to put a man on the moon by the end of 1969. Only eleven years after that goal was accomplished, the United States government had developed and successfully launched a space shuttle program that would be an integral asset to the construction of the International Space Station and a predecessor for interplanetary space travel. In 2011 the Space Shuttle program was terminated, funding for a manned mission to Mars was withdrawn, and the nation’s current means of interaction with the ISS is reliant on privatized corporations. These two events bookend an unprecedented technological arc in the name of nationalist pride and discovery, with the latter serving as a poignant marker in American late-model capitalism.

Carlson’s influences include both the fabricated narratives of science fiction and ancient mythologies as well as non-fictitious socio-political histories of the modern and ancient world. This work obscures the boundaries of these constructs by examining the limitations of past actions in order to expose the parameters of progress and failure, all the while speculating the mechanics of cause and effect.

Carlson makes art in an effort to capture the tension between conceptual ideals and existing realities. He creates artistic responses to sites with dense cultural and political histories, most recently through exploring abandoned military bases and industrial wastelands from the mid 20th century. Investigating these residual monuments provides a compelling outlet to decode human nature and question our understanding of phenomenological histories that ultimately affect our future. The videos, installations, and sculptures that manifest as a result of this questioning show a heightened attention to the materiality of high and low technology and address issues of masculinity, labor, science, and the archive while maintaining a strong sense of play.

Dan Carlson received his BFA from James Madison University and completed  his MFA at Parsons the New School for Design. He recently organized a 15-person group show anchored around the contemporary American landscape and completed residencies at I-Park and The Wassaic Project. He lives and works in Brooklyn, NY.

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