Terrestrial/Celestial Navigations

Bill Gilbert


Part of my ongoing experiment in constructing a portrait of place by walking the surface of the planet, terrestrial/celestial navigations honors the relationship desert peoples have with the sky by weaving together heaven and earth. Each walk inscribes the land with the patterns of stars earlier cultures created to project their world into the night sky. I employ a combination of pedestrian and satellite technologies using google earth to establish GPS points for each star and my body to then inscribe constellations by walking them onto the ground. Each walk becomes a random transect of the landscape creating an array of chance encounters with place.



Bill Gilbert completed his undergraduate work in studio art at Swarthmore College and Pitzer College. He received his MFA from the University of Montana in 1978 and has served on the faculty in the Department of Art and Art History at the University of New Mexico since 1988. Gilbert is co-founder of the new Art & Ecology emphasis in studio art and currently holds the Lannan Chair as director of the Land Arts of the American West program. In 2013, Gilbert received an Andrew W. Mellon grant funding the creation of the Land Arts Mobile Research Center to serve as the publishing and exhibition arm of the Land Arts program. He served as associate dean of the college of Fe Arts from 2009-2011 and as acting Dean of the College in 2012.

Gilbert has exhibited his place-based, mixed media installation and video works internationally since 1981. He has participated in collaborative projects resulting in exhibitions in US, Ecuador, the Czech Republic, Greece and Canada. Gilbert received a Lila Wallace Arts International Grant in 1994 to work with the Quichua people of Ecuador and has curated numerous exhibitions and written essays regarding the work of indigenous artists from the US Pueblos, Juan Mata Ortiz, Mexico, and Pastaza, Ecuador. Terrestrial/Celectrial Navigations was undertaken as part of the Land Arts of the American West program with funding from Lannan Foundation