Andrea Hamilton AH Studio

For nothing can compete with the programme truth, goodness, and beauty of the photographs created automatically.

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“For nothing can compete with the programmed truth, goodness, and beauty of photographs created automatically.”

―Vilém Flusser

Since the eighteenth century, art and science have often been seen as opposite terms. However, in one way or another both depend on observation and synthesis: two key notions in the development of traditional and contemporary aesthetics. Prior to the Industrial Revolution, rather than antagonistic, they were considered complementary expressions of human culture as they shared comparable knowledge and curiosity.

In recent history, scientific achievements have revolutionised the way art is produced. From acrylic paints in the 1960s to digital imagery today, science continuously helps us provide new ways of understanding and consuming images. An example of this proposition could be NASA Earth Observatory, the principal source of satellite imagery and other scientific information pertaining to the climate and the environment. As Vilém Flusser says, it is very difficult to compete with the automatisms of apparatus and technology. In order to defend his thesis, he uses NASA images as an example for representing success, that is, in his words: truth, goodness and beauty.

In this sense, Out of this World aims to oppose this dichotomy in order to emphasise why photography and science can get along without rivalry, without limiting the discourse to a matter of apparatuses disregarding the role of men in the process of image making. The rational and analytical approach of technology and science frequently collides with the outsider and experimental status of art, suspending the status quo. But, what if we combine both? This body of work emerges from this tugs-of-war position. It comes out from the enduring relationship of two discourses that inevitably overlap since both are means of investigation and critical analysis where mind and hand come together.

Out of this World presents a series of diptychs that convey the contradictions of perception and criticality through the analysis of the scale of the territory in which water is once again the main protagonist. By using satellite imagery taken from the distance next to a series of close-up landscapes of Yellowstone among other locations, this project amplifies its echoes as if it was a choir of multilayered geographies. Criteria, continues Flusser, is a matter of distance and perspective and, in this sense Out of this World acts as a metaphor of that idea. This body of work invites the viewer to develop their curiosity through data and analysis at the same time that two photographs ― one a detail of the soil and the other with astrological dimensions ― clash with each other.