The series of prints entitled GEOPRINT is based
upon the geological forms and patterns that become apparent on
a macro and micro scale. The visual material has, up to now, been
directly related to specific geographical areas on Spitsbergen
– areas that have been under scrutiny by the research expedition
AMASE –(The Arctic Mars Analogue Svalbard Expedition).
About the project: During the last five years
I have spent several extended study periods on Svalbard –
mostly at the artist’s studio (Kunsternhytta), located on
the research base at New Ålesund. As a result of this, PGP
(The Physics of Geological Processes) invited me to join their
research expedition – AMASE – as an artist during
the summers of 2003 and 2004.
During the expedition I followed the work of both biologists and
geologists in the field. The research methods they used ranged
from large scale optical observations, to the detailed microscopic
methods used to examine minerals, structures and biological material.
Art/Science: Research results are usually
presented in the form of publications. This is a presentation
form that is widely accepted in research circles, but is often
quite inaccessible to those outside this milieu. PGP were interested
in exploring the possibility of using other ways of visualising
and mediating their observations.
Artists often work with concepts, metaphors and comparisons that
touch upon many different fields of knowledge. How can scientific
methods and artistic insight join together, influencing and inspiring
one another during the observation process, the preparatory process
and the presentation of the results of the research? These were
the questions the researchers wanted to explore, and the reason
they decided to commission an artist to join their expedition.
About the prints: As well as observing the
work that was carried out, making drawings and taking photographs
during the fieldwork period, I was able to make use of a portable
digital microscope. The visual material I collected whilst using
the microscope, along with the researcher’s photographic
images of stone scrapings, form the basis of several of the images
in the series.
Whilst studying the large amounts of material I had gathered,
I was able to see how the visual structures developed, from the
microscopic “inside the stone” images to macro-sized
images. How do these visual structures change, creating new patterns
and shapes during the transition from small-scale to large-scale,
using different sections, displacements in size, etc? Small changes
in the chosen section give entirely new motifs and content. The
colours in some of the images have been chosen because they represent
visually the experience of nature and culture on Svalbard. The
images are built up layer by layer on the printing press, using
printing plates and templates made of plastic and metal.
Watch the GEOPRINT series