Experimental Philosopher Jonathon Keats Explores 1,000 Years of Environmental Change in the Lake Tahoe Basin


ART EXHIBITION | OCT 18 - NOV 16, 2018

TAHOE GALLERY, SNC, Incline Village, NV

Exhibition Opening & Panel DISCUSSION | THURS OCT 18, 2018, 5 - 8 pM

Oct 3, 2018 - Tahoe City, CA - Tahoe Timescape is a public art project conceptualized by experimental philosopher and artist Jonathon Keats that photographically documents the next thousand years of environmental change in the Lake Tahoe Basin. The project enlists a new approach to photography based on the traditional pinhole camera. Pierced through a plate of 24-karat gold, a minuscule pinhole focuses light onto a rose colored pigment, such that the color fades most where the light is brightest, very slowly imprinting a unique positive image. The Millennium Camera's thousand-year-long photographic exposure, taken between 2018 - 3018, not only shows the view in front of the camera, but also records how it develops over time, revealing dynamics ranging from urban development to climate change.

View of Lake Tahoe from Eagle Rock, Homewood, CA | Site Photography by Ryland West
Digital Pinhole Photograph from Eagle Rock | Site Photography by Ryland West

While one goal of Tahoe Timescape is to provide documentation of human and environmental dynamics for study by future generations, the Millennium Camera, custom made from copper for durability, is equally intended as a mechanism for people today to envision their long-term impact on the environment – and potentially to change the picture by altering their behavior.

Millennium Camera (2 1/4 inches diameter x 2 3/4" inches long, copper) designed by Jonathon Keats

Tahoe Timescape features four Millennium Cameras that will be deployed around all four shores of Lake Tahoe, with fixed vantage points positioned to provide an expansive view of the Lake Tahoe Basin, presenting multiple opportunities for the public to engage in deep-time thinking as they explore the region. The copper brackets that secure each camera in their location, as well as informative plaques mounted next to the cameras, are fabricated locally by Mountain Forge. The four locations, pinpointed on a topographic map and identified by geographic coordinates, are as follows:

South Shore: Heavenly Mountain Resort, South Lake Tahoe, NV / CA

West Shore: Eagle Rock, Homewood, CA

North Shore: Lake Tahoe Dam, Tahoe City, CA

East Shore: Sand Harbor, NV

Digital Pinhole Photograph of the Lake Tahoe Dam | Site Photography by Ryland West
View of the Lake Tahoe Dam from Fanny Bridge, Tahoe City | Site Photography by Ryland West

Jonathon Keats and Tahoe Public Art's Executive Director, Mia Hanak, conducted site surveys to identify the vantage points and Millennium Camera locations. Local landscape photographer Ryland West explored each site to shoot a set of landscape photographs paired with digital pinhole photographs focused on the actual vantage point from the Millennium Cameras to help us imagine the photographic composition that will be recorded by each between now and 3018.

"Tahoe Public Art is truly excited to be presenting the conceptual art of Jonathon Keats to the Lake Tahoe Basin. With the ongoing stewardship of Sierra Nevada College, we hope this encourages tourists and residents alike to contemplate the future of the basin and how they can become active in its preservation." - Steve Miller, Chairman, Tahoe Public Art

View of Sand Harbor from East Shore, Nevada | Site Photography by Ryland West
Digital Pinhole Photograph of Sand Harbor | Site Photography by Ryland West

Further outreach will be facilitated by an exhibition about deep time photography at Sierra Nevada College's Tahoe Gallery. Opening on October 18th and running through November 16 in 2018, the exhibition will feature four sets of landscape photographs, digital medium format pinhole photographs, and photo documentation of the cameras secured at each location. Samplings of pinhole cameras, and a topographic map showing the camera sites and geographic coordinates will also be showcased. On September 5th, Keats led a pinhole camera workshop for SNC students. The exhibition will also showcase original artwork by SNC students -- including 2-D, 3-D, digital arts, and interdisciplinary art -- encapsulating how they envision Lake Tahoe in one thousand years.



Thursday, OCT 18, 5:00 - 8:00 PM

The questions provoked by deep time photography are simultaneously urgent and timeless. Over the next thousand years, Tahoe Timescape will keep the future in focus.


Jonathon Keats, Conceptual Artist and Experimental Philosopher

Geoff Schladow, Director, Tahoe Environmental Research Center

Russel Dudley, Professor, Gallery Director, Fine Arts, SNC

Mia Hanak, Executive Director, Tahoe Public Art (Panel Moderator)

Jonathon Keats

Acclaimed as a "poet of ideas" by The New Yorker and a "multimedia philosopher-prophet" by The Atlantic, Jonathon Keats is an artist, writer and experimental philosopher based in San Francisco and Northern Italy. His conceptually-driven interdisciplinary projects explore all aspects of society through science and technology. In recent years, he has launched a reciprocal biomimicry initiative – allowing non-human species to benefit from human technologies – at Bucknell University; opened a photosynthetic restaurant serving gourmet sunlight to plants at the Crocker Art Museum; and applied quantum mechanics to banking – coaxing money into a quantum superposition to be shared by everyone – at Rockefeller Center in New York City.

Exhibited internationally, Keats's projects have been documented by PBS, Reuters, and the BBC World Service, garnering favorable attention in periodicals ranging from Science to Flash Art to The Economist. He is the recipient of multiple Yaddo and MacDowell Fellowships, and has lectured at institutions including Stanford University, the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), which awarded him a 2015-16 Art + Technology Lab Grant. His latest book, You Belong to the Universe: Buckminster Fuller and the Future has recently been published by Oxford University Press, which also published his previous book, Forged: Why Fakes Are the Great Art of Our Age. He is the Black Mountain College Legacy Fellow at the University of North Carolina - Asheville and a Research Fellow at the Nevada Art Museum's Center for Art + Environment. He is represented by Modernism Gallery in San Francisco.

Select Press Coverage of Deep Time Photography

Slate | Fast Company | Associated Press | The Common


Tahoe Public Art's mission is to enhance the cultural landscape of the Tahoe region by providing dynamic art experiences inspired by the Lake Tahoe Basin's natural beauty and heritage to create momentum towards local environmental preservation efforts. TPA is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization registered in California and Nevada.

CONTACT: Mia Hanak, Executive Director, Tahoe Public Art

+1-530-580-8121 | info@tahoepublicart.org | www.tahoepublicart.org | @TahoePublicArt

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