My first book project,The Bigger Picture, relates experimental forms of multiplicity and dimensionality in contemporary media art with 19th century methods— between photography and cinema—for producing “expanded views” beyond the related limits of perception and representation. This project began with research on the panorama and stereoscope, then widened to consider technologies of photogrammetry, VR, and machine vision.
I am also working on a second project on the visual culture of astronomy. Seeing Stars will be a media-art-history of astronomical imaging, focusing especially on the way photographic and digital visualization technologies have changed the way we represent and imagine the farthest limits of our visible world. The first part of this work to come out will be an article on the interactive AR of mobile astronomy apps.
Recalling historical and theoretical connections between hair and photography, this article explores how Lorna Simpson's engagement of race and gender is structured by a broader investigation of how the surface of the body and the photograph relate, how identity becomes embodied and represented as visible. It focuses on the role of hair in Simpson's images, from early depictions of the back of African American women's heads, to images of braids and wigs, to photographs printed on matted hair.
Digitally composed from stereo photographs over a century old, Ken Jacobs' 2006 "Capitalism" films unsettle spatiotemporal relationships that structure not only photographic and cinematic representation but also dimensions of perception and history. They explore depth as an aesthetic and conceptual paradox that has driven Jacobs' career-long experiments in "paracinema."
Between the emergence of photography and cinema, techniques for producing spatial and temporal depth often overlapped and complemented one another. Hybrid formats of this period—such as 3-D zoetropes, stereopanoramas, and 'time studies'—combined stereographic and cinematic strategies in a range of effects. Using digital tools, contemporary media artists reinvoke these 'pre-cinematic' hybrids to test the dimensions of the 'postcinematic' image.
This article offers a media archaeology of immersive world maps and astronomical models, focusing on walk-in terrestrial and celestial globes. Examples discussed span almost two centuries--the Gottorp Globe, the Georama, Wyld’s Great Globe, the Celestial Globe of the 1900 Paris Exposition, the Atwood Sphere, the twin maps of Google Earth and Google Sky, and the Reality Deck 1.5 gigapixel display recently funded by the National Science Foundation at Stony Brook University.
Broken bits of space shuttles, paint chips, defunct satellites, and other abandoned objects orbit our planet as a belt of debris. This band will encircle Earth after humans no longer exist, forming not just a junk pile but a displaced fossil record. Trevor Paglen photographs this distant layer of detritus using visual technologies complicit with producing it—which have reframed the scale of human action and impact, recalibrating correlated scales of vision, representation, and interpretation.
Trevor Paglen’s project, The Other Night Sky, uses algorithmic strategies to photograph classified surveillance satellites ,exploring forms of visibility and knowledge produced by a global infrastructure that circulates around the planet. These images present a visual technology and material reality that hovers outside our awareness even as, and perhaps because, it so thoroughly mediates and structures the way we see our world and imagine beyond it.
The industrialization of photography and its mechanical reproduction of images forged a model of representation that has shaped how we now conceptualize digital data. The sense that anything could be photographed, and the idea that any photograph could be infinitely copied positioned photography as a kind of universal currency into which anything could be translated, circulated, stored, and exchanged. In particular, the apparent depth of stereoscopic images supported the assumption that photographs could capture and reiterate the world in its ‘actual’ dimensions.
Immersion names the limit conditions of mediation, the horizon at which the apparatus or interface seems to disappear and a mediated experience feels immediate. Because of this, it points to expectations refueled with every new technology, and presses a boundary always being redrawn between human and machine. The changing terms of immersion articulate shifts much broader than any simple story of progress. (Link to MIT page for the book)
Today we tend to visualize networks through metaphors and aesthetics offered by digital media. In the Post-Civil War United States, however, different ideas of spatiotemporal connection emerged in relationship with the new medium of photography and the construction of transcontinental railroads. Nineteenth-century sets of railroad photographs, which follow train lines through ordered sequences of images, coordinated multiple aspects into the conceit of a continuous view.