Distant Transmissions #17. 2018
Distant Transmissions #17, Gum Bichromate
Distant Transmissions is a series of work that comments on the history of space travel and how our past has been informed and changed by space exploration and communication technology. In this series, these photographs highlight the tension between truth, fabrication, and the power of the photograph to influence memory. These photographs are printed in 19th century processes Gum Bichromate, Cyanotype, and Albumen. The aesthetics of my images demonstrate the layering, covering up, and altering of memory through process. One of the methods I use to mimic the break down of memory is Gum Bichromate, a 19th century photographic process that has a grainy, soft focused quality. Gum Bichromate emulsion is made with pigment, gum arabic, and potassium dichromate and hand coated on a piece of rag paper. Once exposed with a digital negative the photograph is developed in water. use these methods to create an obscured, otherworldly aesthetic. The images are originally taken with a 35mm camera and film. The photographs are often distorted through light leaks, double or triple exposures, and obscured layers of visual information. My goal is to both illuminate and conceal the artifice and create visual tension with an audience that knows my attempts to explore outer space may not be achieved.
Distant Transmissions Installation Image #1. 2018
Installation Image from The Light Factory, Charlotte, North Carolina
My series, Distant Transmissions, investigates how various technologies such as space exploration, shortwave radio, and photography have inspired us to explore the unknown. The early 20th century ushered in the proliferation of the vox humana, the human voice, transcending the bounds of average human limits. Radio waves crossed the diameters of the earth with historical precedence. Decades later, we traveled beyond our planet and the earth was photographed for the first time by the NASA Voyager Probes, altering our perception of the immensity of the universe and the smallness of our world. Our understanding of reality continues to be shaped by technology and how we use it to explore over great distances. I use the subjectivity of photography to rewrite a history that includes the role of the archetypal female explorer. I play a performative part in the process as the figure in my own handmade spacesuit. I take on various roles in my research including explorer, photographer, and amateur shortwave radio operator. Greenville, North Carolina is home to the last government owned shortwave radio station where my discovery of shortwave radio began. The process of finding these shortwave radio sites sparked my interest in the otherworldly qualities on our own planet hidden in the fields of North Carolina. My work examines the history of human connection through exploration and how we use these technologies to communicate and create meaningful connections with one another over great distances.
American Interterrestrial Society Protests the HB2 Bill. 2016
The American Interterrestrial Society Protests the HB2 Bill outside of Governor McCrory’s Office in Raleigh, NC, June 2016.
The American Interterrestrial Society challenges the current trend of alternative history and alternative facts. I use the subjectivity of photography to rewrite and reimagine a history that includes the powerful role of the female explorer. My images are grainy, out of focus, abstract landscapes. I play a performative part in the work as the figure in the spacesuit. I use interdisciplinary mediums to interpret a complex and changing world by reexamining history to ask new questions. My performances, sound, video, and photography emphasize how technology can shape our interpretation of reality and cultivate resistance and hope in response to our current interplanetary quandaries.
Note: The text above was written by the Artist. No modification was made by C.O.C.A.
Christine Zuercher is an astronaut and member of the American Interterrestrial Society. She was born and raised in Dayton, Ohio and received a BFA from the University of Dayton in 2011 and an MFA from East Carolina University in 2016. Her research is on shortwave radio, the Space Race, and transmission technologies with a focus in interdisciplinary and alternative photographic processes. She is a Dayton Art Institute Yeck Fellow and an Ohio Arts Council Excellence Award Recipient. She has a national exhibition record that most recently includes the Radial Gallery at the University of Dayton. She is a featured artist for the upcoming Media Art Exploration Festival in San Francisco. She enjoys photographing interplanetary adventures with collaborators and friends while in her spacesuit.