SHIBBOLETHS FOR THE SUN
I: CLOAK YOURSELF IN SCARLET
II: A HELMET OF PITH AND SOLA
III: THERE IS SANITY AT SEA LEVEL
DIGITAL PRINTS ON ALUMINUM + DYE SUBLIMATION PRINTS ON POLYESTER
The digital prints on aluminum and dye sublimation prints on polyester fabric included in this series use digital cloning to remix historical tools for vision, rendering them as kaleidoscopic meditations on the histories of vision, photography, and surveillance.
These prints reference the curvilinear forms of Fresnel lenses, the compact lenses used for lighthouses and once the most cutting-edge technology behind maritime navigation. During the Napoleonic period in France, lighthouse lenses underwent continuous redesign, rapidly changing shape alongside the progressing science of optics. Each newly produced lens adapted to fit the most recent theories on the physical behavior of light. A morphing collage of concentric circles, facets and arcs, the glass lenses still appear as much Rococo as Rationalist.
The titles borrow from a series of superstitions common among British colonists in Kenya and Tanzania, who distrusted the supposedly-dangerous, vertical rays of the African sun. The higher your altitude the more likely, it was believed, that the sun’s rays would pierce the skull, leading to madness. Thus, “there is sanity at sea level.” Other superstitions regulated the color and layering of clothing to guard against solar radiation, with men and women lining their clothes with scarlet cloth, donning heavy flannel cummerbunds, and wearing multiple and double-brimmed hats.