Darkness

Truthing Gap

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Truthing Gap
Submersion Dive Training Centre - Oban 2005

Between 2008-10 I was Leverhulme Trust, Artist in Residence at the National Oceanography Centre, Southampton, one of the world's top five oceanographic research institutions, working with sonar geophysicist Dr Tim Le Bas exploring methods of seabed mapping and undersea survey.

The deep seabed constitutes the largest, yet least known environment on the planet, one that is currently subject to rapidly accelerating economic, political and ecological pressures. Problems of depth and visibility mean that undersea surveys are conducted using sonar rather than optically, a circumstance that might be said to place the deep ocean 'beyond' the post enlightenment drive of science to render the world as observable phenomena.

Technically the term 'truthing gap' refers to the necessity to verify sonar data with other findings, here it refers the play of myth, imagination and objectivity, involved in envisaging environments that cannot be directly experienced, probing issues of knowledge production, perception and the nature of the scientific gaze. The work of Dr Le Bas and his colleagues seeks to minimize the challenges posed by such locations to attempts to map them, painstakingly cleaning and re-modeling raw data to achieve recognizable forms. For me this difficulty and the visual practices to which it gives rise are fascinating.

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See also That Oceanic Feeling


That Oceanic Feeling - publication

A new 62 page publication (colour and b/w illustrations) with essays by Artist, Rona Lee, Art Historian, Andrew Patrizio and Geographer, Kathryn Yusoff, published John Hansard Gallery 2012

Price £8.95. Available to purchase from: 

http://www.cornerhouse.org/bookstore/product/rona-lee

That Oceanic Feeling

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That Oceanic Feeling

That Oceanic Feeling  John Hansard Gallery - Southampton - 28th Aug - 13th October 2012

The exhibition investigated our relationship to the deep sea - the most remote and inaccessible environment on the planet, combining new and recent works made whilst working alongside geoscientists at the National Oceanography Centre, Southampton, asking what it might mean to look into this otherwise dark space.

Commissioned by the John Hansard Gallery Funded by Arts Council England, Grants for the Arts, University of Wolverhampton 

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A Necessary Darkness

A Necessary Darkness
A Necessary Darkness
A Necessary Darkness


A Necessary Darkness 2017 - (commissioned by the Amsterdam Light Festival* in partnership with NEMO - the Dutch Museum of Science). a large scale projection on to the Renzo Piano designed ‘NEMO’ building (Oosterdok 2 Amsterdam)  dusk - 11pm daily 30 November 2017 until 21 January 2018

Contemporary satellite imagery of the world at night reveals a spreading blaze of illumination - the by-product of a 24-hour economy centred on production and consumption - which threatens to banish darkness altogether. What will it mean for future generations to grow up under skies where the stars are continuously obliterated by an orange glow and what of the effects on the body of continuous night time work? Traditionally beacons of safety and civilization - rather than a beam of welcoming light - this ‘house of light made dark’ generates a sweep of uncanny blackness.

Informed by ideas of the Anthropocene, a term used by scientists to refer to the increasing impact of human existence upon the planet’s eco systems, A Necessary Darkness suggests the need in an age of illumination for wonder, uncertainty and otherness.

see also https://vimeo.com/249526954 and https://vimeo.com/247013048

*The Amsterdam Light Festival is an annual international event which draws audiences of 850,000. In 2017-18 the theme of festival was Existentialism. A call for ideas drew 900 submissions from designers, architects and artists in 45 different countries, from which 35 artworks were selected. 

Content creation Sam Wilkins

Documentation Marcus Koppen