WORKS > Urban Lifecycles, 2012

A Found History

Installation view (left)
found models, fabricated stands, painted backdrop
11' x 16'
Vintage binoculars with the found dioramas & their supports in the background
found models, fabricated stands, painted backdrop
A Found History Timeline
exhibition handout

"Hamilton’s installation, a collaboration with the Ketchum-Sun Valley Heritage and Ski Museum and the Blaine County Historical Museum, uses dioramas from both museums to give viewers a visual history lesson on Ketchum’s last century and a half. Arranged in roughly chronological order, the dioramas mark key moments: a Native American settlement, a mining camp, the Union Pacific Railroad, the Roundhouse, and the future home of the Sun Valley Center for the Arts. Hamilton sees the installation as a found history. But her project also points to the fact that history is always “found”—certain events rise to the surface and define the narrative while others are glossed over or omitted.

The intentionally rickety stands that Hamilton constructed to support each diorama are a reminder that historical narratives are often tenuous or unstable. They also recall the train trestles, mining structures and lift towers that are the literal framework on which the history of Ketchum and Sun Valley was built.

Although the Urban Lifecycles exhibition explores the growth, decay and renewal of cities, Hamilton says a major theme in her artwork—which ranges in medium from film to painting and in subject from vanishing lakes to walled gardens—is less history than it is perception. In the gallery installation, she has included binoculars that visitors can use for a different visual experience."

Courtney Gilbert, Curator of Visual Arts
Sun Valley Center for the Arts