new-york

Paul Ramirez Jonas

Postmasters

Under the title “Heavier than Air,” Paul Ramirez Jonas presented two installations dealing with the history of flight and invention. For the earlier (though ongoing) work, Men on the Moon: Tranquility, 1992, the artist reconstructed Thomas Alva Edison’s first phonograph, 1879, using it to record, onto 398 green wax cylinders (each containing about a minute of sound), the initial six and one-half hours of the first manned mission to the moon in 1969. (He intends to record the remaining 17 hours of the mission by this method as well.) The cylinders were displayed on shelves along one wall, with the phonograph and a hook containing a transcript of the transmission more marginally placed.

The more recent work consisted of seven kites made of white cotton and wood, all 1993, that replicated designs from the last century, including two by Alexander Graham Bell. Each was equipped with a camera

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