• Her Luminous Distance

Satz, Aura, 2014, Art or design object, Her Luminous Distance

Abstract or Description:

'Her Luminous Distance' is a slide-based installation which uses a Blink Comparator, a device used by astronomers to detect small pattern differences between photographic plates by alternately switching between images, blinking back and forth between the two. The PROBLICOM (Projector Blink Comparator) was invented by amateur astronomer Ben Mayer, using two juxtaposed slide projectors and a rotating disc, alternately occulting the images at a stroboscopic pace. The accompanying binaural soundtrack is a pulsing rhythmic drone which plays on the perception of patterns.
Developed from research on the pioneering deaf astronomer Henrietta Swan Leavitt (1868-1921), the project attends to the lesser known women who contributed to important astronomical discoveries, in particular the women known as 'Human Computers' at Harvard, who were engaged in painstaking astronomical observation and classification. In her extensive studies of Variable Stars, Leavitt discovered the period-luminosity relation, which ultimately helped calibrate a method to determine the size of the universe. The blinking slide sequence includes images drawn from Leavitt's original annotated photographic plates of Variable stars, archival images from the Human Computers' workplace, and a series of over 20 images of craters on the moon named after women astronomers. The Leavitt Crater is on the far side of the moon, and is also in honour of deaf scientists.
Research advice and support-in-kind from Alison Doane at Harvard College Observatory Library, The American Association of Variable Star Observers (AAVSO), the Lunar Reconaissance Orbiter Camera Team in Arizona, the Maria Mitchell Association, and James Stuby.

Exhibitions: 'They Used to Call it the Moon', Group show at Baltic 39 (Gateshead, 2014); 'They Used to Call it the Moon', Group show at Baltic (Gateshead, 2014-15); 'Her Marks, a Measure', Solo show at Dallas Contemporary (Texas, 2016); 'Her Marks, a Measure', Solo show at Fridman gallery (NY, 2016); Group exhibition at Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery (2018). Performances: Staged at the 60th International Short Film Festival Oberhausen (Oberhausen, 2014); Performance as part of the exhibition 'Curiosity: Art and the Pleasures of Knowing', Hayward Touring exhibition at De Appel, Amsterdam (2014). Reviews and interviews: Artforum, Studio International. Publication: 'Her Marks, A Measure' exhibition catalogue, Fridman Gallery, with essays by Justine Ludwig, Omar Kholeif and Erika Balsom (2016).

Subjects: Other > Physical Sciences > F500 Astronomy
Creative Arts and Design > W100 Fine Art
Creative Arts and Design > W600 Cinematics and Photography > W640 Photography
School or Centre: School of Arts & Humanities
Funders: Baltic
Date Deposited: 08 Dec 2016 17:09
Last Modified: 09 Nov 2018 15:47
URI: https://researchonline.rca.ac.uk/id/eprint/2315
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