A Poetics of Space

A Poetics of Space, 2021-23

Eight multi-piece gelatin silver shadowgram film assemblages. Displayed on 60 cm x 150 cm light boxes. Unique objects

These montages, pairings and wraps replicate photocopied enlargements of a hand-drawn German atlas of the moon published in 1936. I partially erased, overdrew and crushed the photocopies so they would record distorted and out-of-focus when contact-printed in the darkroom on to large sheets of gelatin silver film. The films were then chemically altered, cut-up and imperfectly re-assembled as intricate mosaics, overlays or rolled juxtapositions. In his 1958 book The Poetics of Space Gaston Bachelard elaborated the emotional and literary phenomenology, the lived subjective experience of built spaces, as distinct from their abstract utility, economic efficiency or stylistic virtues. Like old-style architects or planners blueprints these photographic jigsaws, folds and diptychs deploy Bachelard’s thesis as an allegory for both the beauty of what is and the division of tenure for what might be if the projected colonizing and economic exploitation of the moon (and beyond) was to be realized. What will it feel like to peer into the night sky and behold not our ancestor’s immaculate orb of awe, lullabies, magic and dreams available to all and owned by none but an irrevocably defaced industrial hodgepodge controlled by the privileged and the powerful?