Installation view in Extractions from a Future History, Public Art Agency Sweden for the city of Luleå
5 - 5
My Pictures of You
HD video with sound
The artist thinks about the images of Mars as a death mask of Earth captured millions of years in the future yet witnessed in the present. Compelled by the photographs from NASA’s expeditions in how strikingly familiar the topography of Mars feels—dry lake beds, undulating sand dunes, and a horizon that could be our own—she tests her poetic speculation on the scientist responsible for key instruments gauging water and atmosphere on Mars.
A road trip through the American desert, during which key sites were filmed, becomes a device to suggest her interest in the desertification of Earth, fossil-fuel capitalism and extraplanetary colonization. Yet the deeper, ante-concern of the work might be that of photographic meaning, seen in the artist’s alternative analysis of Roland Barthes’ Camera Lucida in relation to the images of Mars, and the “mothering” of Earth. Barthes’ seminal text on photography pivots around an image of the author’s deceased mother as a child, in what is known as the “Winter Garden” photograph. The video initiates a thought-experiment: replace Barthes’ mother for mother Earth. Despite the video’s bleak outlook, it transforms its own pessimism into a joyful affirmation of earthbound existence.