Christina McPhee: Tesserae of Venus

  • ©, Christina McPhee, Tesserae of Venus


    Tesserae of Venus

Artist(s) and People Involved:




    HD Film, digital video animation (projected)

Artist Statement:

    In Tesserae of Venus, I am exploring alternative energy sites at the rough, natural urban edge in California – windfarms, natural gas installations, geothermal systems – as if Venus has arrived on Earth – meaning, carbon saturation at the tipping point in Earth’s atmosphere. To do this I create large scale drawings based on the Jet Propulsion Lab Magellan photographs of the surface topology of Venus. I follow the ‘tesserae’ or tiling forms, which are characteristic of the intense heat-generated forms of Venerean surface tectonics, building models of paper that I leave out to weather in the sun and rain, then photograph and film. Then I layer the images of the tesserae into assemblage with the energy site landscapes. I am interested in a cybernetic linking between the tesserae models and the intensive invasion of energy technologies into delicate liminal ecosystems, often along rivers, deltas, swamps and inland seas. Are the tesserae surfaces a conceptual image of the future tipping point, when the feedback loop of carbon saturation in Earth’s atmosphere kicks in? Could the models attempt to describe sheltering structures that we will build in the spaces that emerge within places where the biosphere and large scale technology blur and mesh? As if to anticipate a future architectural environment built of ‘tesseracts’? The film animation frames accumulate skin-like incidents of nip and tuck, folding and unfolding, as if to gather a future archive of photographs from a carbon saturated Earth. The ‘arrival’ of Venus, beautiful and dangerous, is also an opportunity to imagine shelters from the carbon storms – to imagine how we will love our landscapes in the strange weather of the coming crisis.


All Works by the Artist(s) in This Archive: