Elegy

Elegy, 2007-23

An array of fifty (50) toned gelatin silver photographic films cut into circles, each encapsulated in a Mylar envelope. Unique objects. Arranged suspended and backlit.

These images of deep space were re-created on the dry bed of Lake Tyrrell in the Victorian Mallee between 2007 and 2009 by exposing photographic films to the naked light of the moonless night sky passing directly through old glass-plate astronomical negatives. Each of the Mylars has been laser-engraved with the words of Elegy by multi-award winning poet Annie Mairead Hunter. The making of this work was a ritual of grief and hope: a photo-kinetic coda for lost and imagined worlds. The metamorphosis of invisible silver halides into dark metal image chemically triggered by absorption of the ancient ambient ‘light of the universe’ means the picture-carrying surface of each of these films is effectively a membrane of congealed starlight. They are displayed suspended in contorted alignment, like a worm, a snake or bent telescope. Sequenced by azimuth location from the north of the northern hemisphere to the south of the southern hemisphere sky, the films and the words that overlay them allude to the possibility of tragic catharsis: in the midst of escalating ecological crisis might we find hope or solace or even redemption in the great wilderness of the heavens?

 

Time-lapse photograph of films being exposed to starlight on the dry bed of Lake Tyrrell, Victoria, Australia, July 2008. Photo by Viren Mohan

Time-lapse photograph of films being exposed to starlight on the dry bed of Lake Tyrrell, Victoria, Australia, July 2008. Photo by Viren Mohan

Time-lapse photograph of films being exposed to starlight on the dry bed of Lake Tyrrell, Victoria, Australia, July 2008. Photo by Glenn Wilson

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