The Optics Division of the Metabolic Studio
In 2010, Lauren Bon and artists Richard Nielsen and Tristan Duke formed the Optics Division of the Metabolic Studio, devoted to recontextualizing photography as a land-based medium and a social practice. The Optics Division has explored the photochemical agency of the natural landscape: mining the material resources, such as silver, halogen salts, water, and gelatin to make photographic film. In this work the optics division has sought a photography that is literally of the landscape.
The Optics Division has also mined the social landscapes within which they have worked to find new modes of engaged photography. Their Liminal Camera, a moveable, monumental camera built from a shipping container, functions as an image capture device and a social sculpture, which as a roving community forum allows for collective vision.
Exhibitions include: DePaul Art Museum, Chicago, IL; The George Eastman Museum, Rochester, NY; Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (MASS MoCA), North Adams, MA. Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit (MoCAD); Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions (LACE); Les Rencontres d’Arles, France; and the Smithsonian Hirshhorn, Washington DC.
The Metabolic Studio is the expression of Lauren Bon’s practice as an artist bringing together a broad range of disciplines and media –utilizing farming, architecture, performance, sound, dance and photography to create urban, public, and land art projects that galvanize social and political transformation. Based in the Intermountain West, Bon’s studio has focused on accessibility, quality, and supply of water with a special emphasis on promoting community stewardship of water. Lauren Bon’s work is global in its reach, with an art practice that seeks to engage on the same scale as society’s capacity to destroy
Richard Nielsen is an artist, photographer and printmaker. With a background in lithography and etching, Nielsen’s photographic practice is informed by the expanded field of printmaking. Committed to offering printmaking opportunities to established and emerging artists, Nielsen’s Los Angeles studio, Untitled Prints and Editions, has hosted guest artists from around the world. Nielsen has been a close collaborator with Lauren Bon and her Metabolic Studio since 2007.
Tristan Duke is an artist with a special interest in light, optics, illusion, and visual perception. Using innovative approaches to imaging duke explores visual ways of knowing – building his own cameras and optical systems to create new perspectives. His Los Angeles based laboratory – Infinity Light Science is devoted to creative research in areas ranging from optics and holography, to polymorphic shapes and microminiature art. Duke is a Fellow at the Museum of Jurassic Technology, and has exhibited internationally. He moved to Los Angeles in 2010 at the invitation of Lauren Bon to help establish The Optics Division of the Metabolic Studio.