Artspace, New Haven, CT. September 19, 2009 – January 2010
In conjunction with his solo exhibition at Artspace, William Lamson’s public sculpture, “Long Shot,”transforms an empty lot in downtown New Haven, into a makeshift basketball court by installing enlarged basketball backboards and hoops onto unused telephone poles on opposite sides of the lot. By making the hoops, backboards and nets out of found or recycled materials, the court assumes the vernacular language of the home-made, appearing not as a municipal basket ball court, but as an unsanctioned intervention into an existing space. “Long Shot” changes the look and the standards of a familiar game, challenging a viewer’s perception of their own abilities and enticing them to play. The physical experience of trying to throw a basketball through a twenty-foot hoop is humbling. Almost no one succeeds on the first try, forcing viewers / participants to try harder in each successive attempt. This puts viewers in a vulnerable position, opening them to the possibility of trying their hardest and still not being able to succeed. Yet this project is not about failure, rather the work intentionally generates a frustration that engenders curiosity,engagement and an awareness of our physical potential.
Situated between two highly trafficked streets in the historic and culturally diverse Ninth Square neighborhood, this formerly derelict parking lot was redeveloped in 2004 as a public transit site and green space for communal use. In recent years, Artspace, has mounted temporary art installations ranging from sculpture to sound pieces that have fostered new dialogues between artists and the community by actively engaging downtown pedestrians, bus riders, university commuters and Ninth Square residents.