‘There is an undertow of dread and danger in his collection … the images that Ladd has gathered telegraph a uniquely American sense of emptiness … What remains is not just mute but suffocated, along with the promise of endless possibility.‘ The New Yorker
‘Uncanny, funny, alienating, and recognizable all at once. This perfectly produced book is looking at the past as if it is a haunting diorama.‘ Photo-eye
Drawing from the nearly half a million photographs and documents comprising the Historic American Buildings Survey held in the US Library of Congress, this book constructs a fictional ‘one-way road trip’ across the United States, weaving north and south across the Mason-Dixon line while tacking west. In A Field Measure Survey of American Architecture, Jeffrey Ladd uses the HABS archive as a surrogate in order to manifest a portrait of his former country at a moment when its democracy seems imperiled.
Inspired equally by the social documentary work of Walker Evans and the architectural interventions of Gordon Matta-Clark and others, Ladd embraces the muteness of photographs to create an ambiguous space where the sculptural, political, forensic, and fictional coalesce within a landscape of both beauty and fragility. What initially appears to be a single voice is revealed to belong to dozens of makers; what seems a description of the distant past is revealed to be closer to the present than expected. A Field Measure Survey sheds light not only on this remarkable archive but on the proliferate meanings that can be shaped from its images.
Paperback with buckram cover
23.32 x 17 cm, 368 pages