Ventilation System

Nancy Holt
Steel ducts, turbine ventilators, shanty caps, fans, air [materials are locally sourced with each presentation]
Overall dimensions variable [site responsive] 

Ventilation System is a site-responsive installation built of standard ventilation materials that are locally sourced. Part of a series of System Works that Holt began in 1981, with an aim to expose the rudiments of technology upon which humans rely, Ventilation System draws attention to the infrastructure that is omnipresent but often invisible in the built environment. The structure is functional, outfitted with spinning fans and turbine ventilators, yet unnecessary. Holt brings a playfulness to the industrial connotation of the work, leaving space for deeper musings on energy, utility, and earth’s resources.

Holt presented four iterations of Ventilation System during her lifetime. In 2022 Holt/Smithson Foundation exhibited the first posthumous presentation of the work in the exhibition Nancy Holt / Inside Outside at Bildmuseet.


Writing by the Artist

Ventilation Series

Nancy Holt
Made of the standard materials of each system – plumbing, electricity, drainage, heating, gas, and ventilation – the sculpture are functional; the electrical systems light, the heating systems heat, the drainage systems drain, the ventilation systems circulate the air, and so on. Since the sculptures are exposed fragments of vast, hidden networks, they are part of open-ended systems, part of the world. Over the years these technological systems have become necessary for our everyday existence, yet they are usually hidden behind walls or beneath the earth and relegated to the realm of the unconscious. We have trouble owning up to our almost total dependence on them.

Related Info

See Also

Hydra's Head
Nancy Holt
Along the Niagara River, Artpark, Lewiston, New York, USA
Pipeline II
Nancy Holt
Fairbanks Arts Association, Fairbanks, Alaska