Moving-image installation by Lucy Raven at the Whitney Biennial
6 April 2022
Lucy Raven's presentation in the eightieth edition of the Whitney Biennial features Demolition of a Wall (Album 1), the second moving-image installation in her trilogy of “Westerns”.
In American cinema, the Western has traditionally celebrated the expansionist myth that the region is somehow primal or untouched. Raven, by contrast, engages with a West that—while still dramatic in its natural beauty—has been industrialized, militarized, and colonized.
The work was filmed at an explosives range in New Mexico that is typically employed as a test site by the U.S. Departments of Defense and Energy and private munitions companies. Notably, it is close to Los Alamos, a national laboratory known for its role in the development of the nuclear bomb. Using a variety of cameras and imaging techniques, Raven captures the trajectory of the pressure-blast shockwaves that move through the atmosphere in the wake of an explosion. Drawing on film technologies designed for scientific analysis, she turns away from the Hollywood need for a climax, instead presenting the shocks as subjects in themselves.
The 2022 Whitney Biennial continues through 5 September.
Find further information here.
Installation view of Whitney Biennial 2022: Quiet as It’s Kept at the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, 6 April – 5 September 2022 © Lucy Raven, courtesy Whitney Museum of American Art. Photograph by Ron Amstutz.