Skip to main content

Lewis Baltz and sites of technology

   One of the themes of Lewis Baltz's later colour work is the invisibility of meaning at sites of technology. The computers and locations where they occupy are generic. Wherever they may exist in the world they look the same. The function they serve is indecipherable. They could be control centres for collecting surveillance data or could be processing mailing lists for junk mail.

   That ambiguousness appealed to him. Interestingly a very similar opaqueness is at work in all his major series of photographs. While they appear to show objects in the most straightforward way imaginable the result is blankness - it is only the accompanying text, a social critique, that clarifies precisely the issue of intention. While Baltz takes a concept and brings pictures into being, as a viewer I find it is my personal fumbling, pre-revelatory grasp at the images that is the most vital and exhilarating part of experiencing of them.

   Often the specifics of the intent limit, even diminish, what supra-extraneous meaning can be found there, which may be far more profound and revelatory.  The most meaningful images are often those that have a life beyond the value system handed down by the parent.