a tale of a few cities

Mark Mushet, Tweaked Conspiracies

Posted in All is not as it seems., Art, Photography by petercombe on May 24, 2010
Tweaked Conspiracies ©Mark Mushet (left to right, from top) 7, 10, 12, 5b, 9, 4b

“All images derived from data beyond the spectrum of visible light are technological illusions, tweaked conspiracies between human and instrument. Viewer beware.” – Douglas Smith, exhibition developer, Boston Museum of Science

Tweaked Conspiracies was initially inspired by NASA images of Mars, Ernst Haeckel’s radiolaria drawings, and texts on the nature and value of imagery in the service of science and research. It is an exploration of the idea that with most new visual representaions of scientific discoveries, any sense of wonder is bound to deception.

The scientific community generally views any attempt to change images or strip them of context with suspicion. Recently, a MIT research scientist’s photo of baker’s yeast flowering in a Petri dish was criticised for its lack of a visible Petri dish. Context was sacrificed for the beauty of the form—yet that form succeeded in drawing people to the research.

For my own Tweaked Conspiracies, I restricted myself to locally found materials to create a series of images evocative of viruses, planets or organs. It is my intention to pique viewer interest with pictures that are not what they first appear to be, and in which effects play and simulation are at work. – Mark Mushet

Each Tweaked Conspiracy is created from digital scans of dried kelp bulbs found on Galiano Island. The bulbs were scanned at 600 dpi on an Epsom 2450 Photo scanner.

Each image is a 16” square, archival pigment print under museum-quality non-reflective glass.




One Response

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  1. Mars said, on May 31, 2010 at 10:24 am

    This is an interesting concept, especially back story regarding the perception of wonder as deception by some in the scientific community! It seems ironic, seeing how it was imagining what was not there that enabled most scientific advancements –such as space travel.

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