DON'T LOSE THE MANUAL
Photograph & Video exhibition
Visual Art Center, The University of Texas at Austin
Curated by Robin Williams, 2013–2014 VAC Curatorial Fellow
September 19 - December 6, 2014
In DON'T LOSE THE MANUAL, Andrew Lampert explores a personal dimension of technology and technological change. As an artist who is also an archivist specializing in moving-image media, Lampert works with both analog and digital technologies every day, confronting issues of preservation, storage, and the presumed historical relevance (or irrelevance) of various media and objects. The photographs and videos in DON'T LOSE THE MANUAL reflect Lampert’s archival interests, but do so by addressing the preponderance of technology in contemporary life. With candor and humor, the works reveal the artist’s ambivalence about adapting to a world seemingly run by gadgets and social media, yet also illustrate his fascination with the incremental life changes wrought by constant technological change.
Several groupings of images present technologies, or situations involving technologies, that Lampert experiences on a regular basis, including a photographic catalog of every device that he used on a particular day. The exhibition also includes a number of videos in which Lampert asks individuals about the role of technology in their lives. These encounters indicate differing comfort levels with old as well as new technologies, but they also suggest the impossibility of privileging the old over the new, since for better or worse, most things eventually break or succumb to disuse. Presented through a somewhat bewildered lens of personal experience, the themes of DON'T LOSE THE MANUAL are broad and immensely relatable.