Lothar Baumgarten ( German, 1944 - 2018 )
With its distinctive typography, photography and narrative, Lothar Baumgarten's book Carbon chronicles his journey through the United States in the late 1980s tracing and retracing the railroad system that built much of the West while, at the same time, displacing the Native American population. Carbon acts in an important way as an elegy to those displaced in evocative citations of Native American names, and uses the railroad system as the organizing visual and intellectual idea to investigate intertwined notions of landscape, language, memory, and history. A record of an age of undeniable industrial accomplishment filtered through with an underlying sense of loss, Carbon can also be seen as a spur to recognize the effects of time on even the most ambitious of plans whose effects are still being felt today, though not (as history has often shown can happen) those originally intended.
Charles Wylie, Unpublished DMA material, 2004.