Infrastructure Aesthetics: The Films of Cynthia Hooper

Cynthia Hooper filming

Cynthia Hooper’s videos patiently examine landscapes of waste, water, energy, and agriculture, with careful attention to the political and environmental policies that reorder these environments. Her most recent exhibition, “A Negotiable Utopia: The Humboldt Bay Project,” interprets the built environment of  California’s second largest estuary.  Join us for a program of Hooper’s short films, followed by a discussion with Hooper and artist William Lamson.*

*Due to an unforeseen conflict, Mary Miss will not be able to attend.

Films to be screened include:

Exportadora de Sal  (2007, 7 minutes, Baja California)
The oddly mysterious and curiously appealing terrain of an enormous evaporative-based salt mine in Mexico.
GEOTÉRMOELÉCTRICA: Cerro Prieto (2012, 5 minutes, Baja California)
A two-channel video about the perceptual and metaphorical characteristics of a gigantic geothermal energy field in Baja California.

The Humboldt Bay Project: POWER (2014, 10 min, California)Examines the power infrastructure of Humboldt Bay, including its recently-upgraded and formerly nuclear power plant, its electrical grid and natural gas infrastructure, as well as this region’s principal renewable energy resources.

The Humboldt Bay Project: WATER (2014, 10 min, California)

Examines the natural and anthropogenic watersheds of Humboldt Bay, documenting the region’s distinctive water infrastructure and water quality issues.

 The Humboldt Bay Project: SHORELINE (2014, 10 min, California)
Inventories the more than one hundred miles of shoreline that encircles Humboldt Bay.

Cynthia Hooper has worked with Tijuana’s complex urban infrastructure, contested and politicized water issues along the U.S./Mexico border, as well as projects about California’s Klamath and Ohio’s Cuyahoga rivers. Recent work includes an investigation of the artificial wetlands of Mexico’s Colorado River Delta, as well as the built environment of California’s Humboldt Bay. Exhibitions include the Center for Land Use Interpretation in Los Angeles, the Museum of Modern Art in Mexico City, the Centro Cultural Tijuana, and MASS MoCA, and recent publications include Arid: A Journal of Desert Art, Design and Ecology. Cynthia has also been awarded residencies at the Headlands Center for the Arts and the Djerassi Resident Artists Program, as well as grants from the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts and the Gunk Foundation. She lives in Northern California.

William Lamson was born in Arlington, Virginia. His video works often find him playfully and strenuously interacting with his environment (both in the natural world and in his studio). Lamson’s work is included in the permanent collections of the Brooklyn Museum (NYC), the Dallas Museum of Art (TX), the Houston Museum of Fine Arts (TX), and the Progressive Art Collection (Cleveland, OH), among others.

Sponsored by the “Infrastructure Aesthetics” Series from the Department of Media, Culture, and Communication at NYU and the Urban Democracy Lab