4.5 billion years a lifetime is comprised of large-scale cyanotypes of the sky, handmade silver gelatin prints depicting the natural world, and a video work. Here is a synesthetic invitation to experience one sense through another, the flow of time in the static image. See the sounds, as Ralph Eugene Meatyard offered with his motionsound pictures.
Measuring begins in our limits. In 1789, Horace-Benedict de Saussure created the cyanometer, a circle of small squares of blue, arranged in a gradient. This circle was held up to the sky at different altitudes. After matching the density of blue in various locations, de Saussure was able to accurately determine that the hue of the sky reflects the amount of particles suspended in the atmosphere. The blueness of the sky is something we can tangibly see and relate to within our existential timespan, our lifetime. These early cyanometers were made with prussian blue pigment, the same resulting blue dye found in the cyanotype process.
Hyperobjects, a term used by theorist, Timothy Morton, describes phenomena massively distributed across time and space. Morton defines the qualities of hyperobjects as, viscous, molten, phased, of a non-locality, interobjective (relations of more than one object). The totality of hyperobjects cannot be realized in any specific local form. Consequently objects are only able to perceive the imprint of a hyperobject upon other objects, ie the existence of the sun evidenced by shadows on a cloud. They are vital but untouchable objects, objects so massive they counter the notion that spacetime is fixed, concrete, and consistent. Phrased simply, something that can be in more than one place and time at once. Global climate change is often used as an example of a hyperobject. Evidence of the hyperobject is evidence of the markers of that which we seek to map. Here, the climate, 4.5 billion years (life of the earth), language. This show is an attempt to grapple with the un-measurable through images.
Time for us is linear, but time itself is not. When taking a photograph, we often think of a single exposure as capturing a single moment in time and place, a before and after described by the picture. In the multiple exposure pictures we see the challenge or attempt to understand spacetime by increasing time’s density in a single frame – two moments become one.
Sean McFarland: 4.5 billion years a lifetime
Exhibition Dates: January 11 – February 29, 2020
Opening: Saturday, January 11, 2020, from 6pm – 8 pm
1275 Minnesota Street #102
San Francisco, CA 94107