Adam Ryder

Selections From the Joint Photographic Survey

March9 – April 7 2013

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Adam Ryder is currently living.  He was born on the planet Earth, and by all known accounts, has been residing here since. He has recently settled within a squarish, initially industrial, now residential structure made of mid 20th century-typical rebar enforced concrete and wooden framed sheetrock that rests atop the Cretaceous sediments and 400 million year old metamorphic bedrock of Long Island.  The location of his artwork is less rooted in certainty.  Selections From the Joint Photographic Survey is a series of images that Ryder purports to have stumbled upon while working as a registrar in the private photographic collection of Lucas Gregory Hinshelwood.  The photos are said to have been taken in the 1920’s as part of a cooperative effort to document historic architectural sites in the Holy Land.

Adam has a particular interest in structures- the cultural history of architecture as it frames the way that people have lived and proposes how we might live in the future- the shape of buildings.  His imagination floats frequently into the realm of science fiction, fantasy, and the utopian aesthetic of space age imagery.   With these Selections, Ryder draws a line from the future to the past.  As science fictions propose the extension- utopian improvement or dystopian decay- of contemporary life, its artifacts, and culture, The Joint Photographic Survey unearths an historical archaeology of imaginary sites.  The plausibility of these fantastic visions warn us to be critical of stories- to tread carefully into history.

Every picture is a meticulously photoshopped collage.  Their elements culled from the Library of Congress’ online database, these images point to photography as a medium of appropriation. The proposed geographical subject is an area equally targeted for physical appropriation.  The Holy Land, or any holy land for that matter, is consistently the subject of cultural land grabbing and re-claiming.  Architectural structures, rather than being leveled and built anew, are inscribed with new meaning – a temple becomes a church becomes a mosque.  Things are built on top of each other- a pastiche of pre-existing elements, and a reminder that Hume’s missing shade of blue is still missing- we cannot imagine something new out of nothing.