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At the entrance of a darkened room the visitor was invited to take a glass bowl and move slowly inside. Three streams of video emanated from the ceiling, disappearing into the darkness. The content in these columns of moving imagery were only visible when the viewer caught the vision inside the bowl, adjusting the position in order to bring the images into sharp focus. The fragile bowls, blasted with glass beads, offered a surface like that of early projection screens, providing beautiful resolution. Layers of sound continually remixed atop an ambient piece, enhancing our experience of having entered another realm.
This was Hold: Vessel 1, by Australian artist Lynette Wallworth, a 3 channel DVD multimedia installation challenging the traditional boundaries between visual art and the sciences and examining the relationship between scientific technologies and human experience. The projected imagery was derived from the artist’s studies of lens based visualizing technologies developed to allow us to view areas, be they the outer reaches of space or the depths of the ocean, normally inaccessible to the human eye. The artist worked with scientists who use scanning microscopy and astronomical photography, and cinematographers who apply medical imaging technologies to underwater filming in creating this work. While some of the imagery was identifiable, there was also a deliberate ambiguity about what we were seeing in Hold: Vessel 1, and a sense of wonder was part of what is truly mesmerizing about this work and our experience.
Funded by the Judith Blough Wentz ’57 Museum Programs Fund, Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, E. Franklin Robbins Fund and Wellesley College Friends of Art.
Kemper Curator of Academic Programs