the postcards are a small part of a larger project that i intend to develop in my final year. the organic/accidental processes involved in their creation have obscured many of the elements that went into their production.
i’d been experimenting with shibori dying on paper, and found that a circular resist created a repeat pattern that reminded me of a series of planetary images, as sent back by the viking and voyager probes in the 1970s. as a child these lo-fi, fragmentary, images gave me irresistible glimpses into hitherto imaginary worlds.
i wanted to include a series of photographs i took of a frozen lake which, stripped of any external context, reminded me of nothing more than these planetscapes.
i wanted to dig deeper into the history of planetary exploration and was delighted to discover bernard de fontanelle’s conversations on the plurality of worlds. written in 1686, this was one of the first popular science books – being initially published in french, rather than latin which was usual for scientific texts of the time, and soon translated into many other languages. it presented a view of the heliocentric solar system very much coloured by earthly exploration and colonisation. given that every country “discovered” by europeans at the time was populated it seems natural for fontanelle to assume the same would be true of the planets, and i was drawn to use his fanciful descriptions of the people of each.
above is one of my initial experiments. i wasn’t able to complete the project and stored everything in a plastic box. unknown to me, at some point the dye tub spilled, causing discolouration to the samples and eventually mould growth.
the effect of this growth transformed my samples totally. i feel it completes the chain of ideas in the project, bringing it up to date with our current understanding of the planets and their moons, and the possibilities for finding life in our solar system: if it exists it will likely be microscopic, on a similar scale to the mould itself.