The Desert Turned to Glass is a meditation oscillating between the stellar and the subterranean. Traveling through vast distances in space and time from outer space to Paleolithic caves, Stankievech entwins science fiction speculation and contemporary theories on the origin of life, consciousness, and art. A meteorite sculpture floats above a sand floor, a psychedelic video crystallizes deep time. Fog, clouds, and smoke venting from volcanic lava flows spill across the screen.
At a moment obsessed with planetary endings, the visual dynamism and resonating sound of air recapitulates not only the invention of the concept of atmosphere in the history of meteorology, but also the formation of the earth’s atmosphere in geologic time—in a word, to creation itself. The Desert Turned to Glass calls forth otherworldly experience from within the depths and heights of this world, at the same time cultivating an aesthetic disposition to receive them.
Charles Stankievech, born 1978 in Okotoks, Canada. He lives and works in Toronto, Canada. His latest exhibitions include The Eye of Silence at Contemporary Calgary, Canada, in 2023, La llave de cristal (viajes-espejo) at Tae Foundation, Hacienda Ochil, Yucatán, Mexico, in 2021, and The Last Museum, at KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin, Germany, in 2021.
Image credit: Eye of Silence (Sakurajima), Photograph, 2022