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Aerospace Folktales / Geschichten von der Luftfahrt

Allan Sekula

A historical work that was first exhibited at the University of California at San Diego in 1973, Aerospace Folktales is made up of 51 gelatin silver prints, a soundtrack consisting of recorded conversations and a written commentary displayed among large potted plants and director chairs dispersed throughout the gallery.

Aerospace Folktales is an autobiographical piece told in a third person narrative that investigates the artist's own class situation and familial circumstance in order to clarify his own political views. The work contains two focal interviews: one with the engineer, his father who was laid off from the aircraft manufacturer, Lockheed, and the other with his mother, the engineer's wife. Their words reflect the frustrations that come with finding employment at middle age, the stigma society attaches to being without it, and the couple's pontifications on technology and the future of the country in the midst of the Vietnam War. Through a series of images Sekula documents the couple and the life of their family in a working class neighborhood in San Pedro, CA. He uses the strategy of the disassembled movie by combining voice, images and text that have been carefully edited and sequenced. In an interview with Benjamin Buchloh, Sekula notes that this strategy was used in order to "link the... micro-sociological observations that are cast up for the camera or tape recorder... to a broader context and pattern of meaning. "He further states, "This 'disassembled movie' would... function as a extended portrait, not of an autonomous individual, but of family members in relation to one another and to the structuring of the familial institution through ideology and socialization." 

Language: German / English