Culture Rover

#54 - Escape Crafts

Melissa Weimer's photographs in her "Lake. Sky. Vans." series portray the van as mutant being from outer space, a module, an alien being that landed in the gritty midst of the Midwest.

Even the most nicked-up old Ford Crowns in the photographs defy their landscape, look like getaway crafts that might hide, transport, transcend their city settings.

But it is especially in photographs such as Conversion Compositions or Profile, Blue and Red that the van's alien presence makes itself manifest.

In these photos, the vans glint just a bit too clearly in the sun: they are too reflective, shiny, blank, faceless, identityless, somehow digitized into pixels. They look like they have not been driven in years, but that you might not start them with a key so much as a set of hover jets beneath the wheels and chassis.

In Weimer's photographs, the van becomes an incongruous vessel, a time machine of sorts. The machine, still and metallic, old and scratched, beaten and rusting, resists its exterior. If you could get inside, snap on your helmet, you feel like you might float away, alien and gone to the sky, the lake: landscape escaped.

4 March 2005

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