An interview with Laurie Palmer

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I interviewed Laurie Palmer recently for Art21. You can read the whole interview here, but I included the beginning… 

Coming to Chicago marked my first awakening into the world of contemporary art; for the first time, I discovered a whole working community of people engaged in a dialogue. These singular voices nevertheless resound in congress, creating a multi-focused, multifaceted din. Recognizing Laurie Palmer’s work was coincident with my sense of this new world; like the macrocosm I just described, her individual practice is its own tapestry comprised by various threads. Her work with Haha — a group she has been working with for almost 20 years now — was included in lectures about collaborative, political practice at school. She has an impressive solo sculptural career as well, and I came across her critical writing in magazines like Art Forum. Hers is a rich and diving kind of work, one that reaches into and underneath the material she uses. The fruit of this process manifests in an experience somehow aesthetic, educational, and (often) political. In the following interview we focus almost entirely on materiality, examining in part the self within that — where and how it might be singular or multiple.

Laurie Palmer. “Hole,” 2010. Work in progress. 17 x 17 x 7 feet.

Caroline Picard: I know that you’re working on a book about mineral extraction that’s on review for publication. Can you talk a little bit about that book? 

Laurie Palmer: It seems like (and it is!) many years that I have been working on this book project. It started as a way to learn about materials and where they come from and it became a rationale to read voluminously and to teach myself about chemistry, geology, astrophysics, and philosophies of matter as well as histories of mining, U.S. land surveys, and environmental policy. It is organized around 18 chemical elements, and the places that I visited where these elements are extracted.

go here to read more!

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