I am very excited to be presenting my current research at the international Memory, Melancholy and Nostalgia Conference on the 10-11 December 2020. The conference will take place online and you can find more details and book your ticket below:
Below is the abstract of my presentation:
My research seeks to retrace anew the connection between Saturn and melancholy through artistic practice. Saturn has been well-known since ancient times but its identity and meaning has changed over the centuries. Before telescopes enabled us to surpass the limitations of the naked eye, Saturn was a god as well as a planet, a powerful figure very much involved in everyday human life. Especially during the Renaissance, when melancholy was considered both cause and effect of intellectual and artistic prowess, Saturn was its star. The seventeenth century and the advent of imaging technology marked the beginning of an unstoppable demarcation of disciplines and domains of knowledge. Saturn was cemented as the detached object of scientific study. The mythological and astrological connections between planets and human affairs lost intellectual credibility. Today, Saturn ‘the planet’ and Saturn ‘the star of melancholy’ operate in very different orbits. Melancholy has, however, retained its human dimension as a complex notion that defies single definitions and disciplinary boundaries.
Melancholy enters my project through its historical association with Saturn and as an ongoing trope in the arts. Above all, melancholy becomes central to this research as a key aesthetic emotion underlaying out encounter with objects. The catalyst and source material for the art practice is the full set of raw images from NASA’s Cassini mission to Saturn, which ended in 2017. These raw images look very different to the spectacular and seamless images we are accustomed to receive from astronomy, they are monochrome, fragmented and flawed, they precede calibration and scientific interpretation. My artistic approach is multimedia with drawing as its enduring basis. I combine traditional drawing techniques with new digital image-making technologies. My presentation will focus on a body of work that applies the technique of photo-mosaic to collide two interpretations of Saturn from different historical and disciplinary contexts, foregrounding melancholy as a driving force in the artistic process.