underlying - PhMuseum

underlying

Eric Zeigler

2015 - Ongoing

How does an image arise in the world? What are the necessary conditions and materials needed to make discoveries through images and exploration?

My artistic research focuses on the pressures between representation and reality through the creation and dissemination of imagery. I create photographic images that purposefully exploit the problematic contemporary western cultural categorizations and presumptions that are placed on photographic and lens-based imagery. I photograph the world — the world I can see, as well as the public domain — and also create sculptures exclusively for the camera. The resulting images engage the viewer in the conceit and deceit of the image’s actual construction, while utilizing well known methods of seductive image creation.

The work questions the necessity of being in a place to photograph and understand it, and what the exploration of a place, or outer space, means to the contemporary world of photography. Is it real exploration if a human is not present in the space? Our seen version of the world has been simultaneously explored and photographed while we walk through it, and the photographs I make reach into the previously unseen.

I make images that range from overwhelmingly large to quite small in scale, intuitively referencing historical photographic conventions (landscape, the sublime, and historical scientific imagery). I also sometimes use furniture to separate the viewer from their normal gallery experience of the work. I also make all the frames for the photographs, because in addition to controlling the quality of presentation at the highest levels, the usage of the frame reinforces the image’s presence, history, and separation from the lived world.

This work was made with an array of imaging technology: high resolution digital cameras in studios, drones, Micro CT scanners, and computer display capture, as well as the public domain to source materials that create the final images. Each piece was conceived individually, based on extensive research into the scientific, cultural, and photographic importance of each object or place.

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  • A Micro CT Scan of Pozzolonic Ash, the material used by the Romans to create concrete, made 60" Round.

  • A former NASA test site in Arizona, the land was blasted to create craters that match an image of the surface of the moon. The space was used for geologic research training, and lunar rover training just before the missions to the moon.

  • The glass for precision optics, such as photographic lenses and microscopes comes from this mine, as well as glass for fiber optics for all communications.

  • Micro CT Scans of False Martian soil purchased online from NASA. Used to test if growing plants is feasible on Martian soil.

  • A commemorative ash tray designed to match the 200" Hale Telescope, at the time the largest cast piece of optical glass in the world.

  • The first confirmed detection of gravitational waves, with all didactics removed to reveal a purely generated image.

  • A citizen-science project, Einstein@home uses participants computers when they are idle to detect gravitational waves by sifting through detector data. I am participating in this project.

  • The control room for the most advanced imaging equipment in the world, the Laser Interferometer Gravitational Wave Observatory in Hanford, Washington, USA. The device creates images of actions in space we will never see or feel on our own.

  • Rare Earth metals used for cameras and computers are contained in this nodule, brought up from the Atlantic seafloor to study the viability of deep sea mining for these materials.

  • A slice of an iron meteorite that landed in Odessa, Texas in 1922.

  • A large piece of Silicon Carbide which is used for transistors and other computer and imaging materials. A composite image of 250+ photographs.

  • A petrified piece of maple—a fossilized (or alternatively, a rock-image of the) version of the frame materials I use for my images.

  • A NOAA weather satellite image of the Indian Ocean where it was discovered the ocean glowed for 3 nights in a row, with the cause still unknown.

  • Glass remnant from the K/T Meteor impact, this material is an image of the soil from that moment, and was thrown into space and came back to the earth.

  • A neutrino impacting a detector, in conjunction with Fermilab.

  • A stitched together version of the Navy UFO video from 2019, made to render the scene as a landscape in a place rather than an object moving in time.

  • A stitched together version of the Navy UFO video from 2019, made to render the scene as a landscape in a place rather than an object moving in time.

  • Pluto's smallest moon, Styx, photographed by LORRI, now a subject for scientific inquiry through an image, with a resolution striking similar to that of Pluto itself before the New Horizons image.

  • A 3D printed rendering of a downloaded scan of the 67P Comet, with structural supports left intact to reveal and insist that the object is a model, or a fake.

  • An illustration using the image of the cosmic microwave background to show the possible real scale of the universe, as estimated by astronomers.


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