Thuistezien 116 — 17.11.2020

William Lamson
A line describing the Sun

In this video work, the American artist William Lamson makes use of the hottest natural source we know of: the sun. With a construction that resembles a recumbent bicycle, though equipped with a function of an essentially different nature than cycling, the artist parades through the Mojave Desert. In ‘A Line Describing The Sun’, which was recorded within one day, Lamson shows the tremendous heat of the sun in one circular line, burned into the scorched earth of the Death Valley. It does this by means of a clever combination of a large Fresnel lens and a mirror, mounted on the driving device. The angles are adjusted in such a way that the heat from the sun is bundled into one powerful beam that hits the earth, and leaves a mark in the surface of the desert.

Within the oeuvre of Lamson, his fascination for natural phenomena is reflected. With a playful approach, the artist finds applications of the phenomenon other than the conventional ones, which he often shows in the shape of performance art and video works. Lamson’s practices are somewhat reminiscent of those of a scientist, the characteristics of the natural phenomenon forms the basis for his work and he translates them into idiosyncratic creations.

‘A Line Describing The Sun’ was part of an exhibition at West in 2012, where in addition to William Lamson, Jules Marquis and Jani Ruscica showed work. Especially now that we are in an era where a transition from fossil fuels to more sustainable sources of energy is required, a piece like Lamson's can inspire us. Inspire and stimulate to look differently at the applications of our energy sources. While Lamson's construction does not heat an entire residential area nor charges your cellphone, it does open a door to perceiving and harnessing a powerful source like the sun, in a very diverse way.