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Glen Rubsamen

Billboard Palms


In 2013 Glen Rubsamen began a project to photograph defunct digital billboards. The city had forced them to be shut off because of light pollution. It became quickly apparent to Rubsamen that it was almost impossible to photograph a billboard in Los Angeles without a palm tree or cell-phone tower, or both, sneaking into the picture frame. The aesthetic construction which he began to describe as “an accidental ensemble” is an exercise in chance composition and a humorous negation of the classical principles of perspective, sequence and scale. The modern billboard is a two dimensional, almost abstract, constantly changing (sometimes digital), mass-media sales event, the palms are mostly very old (at least thirty years sometimes much more) and they are three dimensional living creatures and finally the cell phone masts are ‘utilities’, tools of the telecom-munication revolution, an essential part of the landscape like lamp-posts and stop-lights.

Rubsamen's photographs transform themselves into a type of child’s play, like the games we used to invent in the back seat of the car to drive away boredom during a family outing. Like counting out-of-state License plates. Rubsamen shows us that the game has changed, it has become ten times more complicated and the aim is no longer just to codify all the players in the new landscape but more to understand the change that has overcome our physical relationship with technology and nature. In Rubsamen's photos, which usually depict a moment at dusk or dawn, the billboards, trees and cell towers coalesce into a hybrid of organic, technological and abstract shapes. They Transform into a living synthesis of the elements of post-nature. In addition to the photographs and collage endpapers designed by the artist, the book contains an explanatory text by Gantner, and fiction by Licht and Schlegel.

  • Hardcover
  • 30 x 30 cm
  • PUBLISHER: Drought Press, Los Angeles
  • DESIGNER: Glen Rubsamen
  • 92 pages
  • ISBN: 978-1389475610

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