LIA HALLORAN: "Your Body is a Space that Sees"

From 11-12-2016 To 12-09-2016

Globular Cluster, (after Willamina Flemming) cyanotype 42 x 72", 2016


Lia Halloran: Your Body is a Space That Sees (Research & Documentation)

November 12 - December 9, 2016

Opening: Saturday, November 12 from 3:30-6pm

This exhibition is in conjunction with FROM GALILEO TO MARS: RENAISSANCE OF THE ARTSCIENCES Symposium/Exhibition.


Your Body is a Space That Sees is a series of large-scale cyanotype works that source the fragmented history and contributions of women in astronomy. The series offer a visual account and female-centric astronomical catalog of craters, comets, galaxies and nebula drawing from narrative, imagery and historical accounts of a group of women known as ‘Pickering’s Harem’ or the ‘Harvard Computers’ who worked at the Harvard Observatory starting in 1879. This little-known group of women made significant impacts in the field of astronomy by using photographic glass plates to catalogue, and set classification system of size, brightness and chemical content of stars. The key to unlocking the distance of the universe was discovered by one of these women (Henrietta Leavitt Swan) and instrumental to the now famous information by Edwin Hubble that the Universe is expanding. The important contributions which are still important today, impactful in their time, and yet they were paid less than half the wages of their male counterparts. Harvard University houses the largest collection of astronomical glass plates in the world - over 500,000 including the very first daguerreotype every taken of the moon.  Research for this series was done in partnership with the archive to identify specific plates that were studied and used by the women in the ‘Harvard Computer’ group and these plates serve as a reference for large paintings of the galaxies or stellar objects within the plate. Your Body is a Space That Sees offers the experience of the night sky through the discoveries made by these astronomers.

The cyanotypes works are created using a painting of a galaxy or stellar image on semi-transparent drafting film then pressed over paper that has been coated with light sensitive emulsion and exposed in the sun. The resulting piece is cyanotype print of the positive image in equal scale to its matching negative created without the utilization of a camera. This process mimics early astronomical glass plates moving between transparent surfaces and is multi-layered in meaning and technique: images of stars created by a star (our sun), paintings used to create a painting (light sensitive emulsion painted out and exposed by another painting). Cliché Verre was a process used by French painters such as such as Carot, Millet and Daubigny in the early 19th century as a method of making a photograph by painting on glass as the negative.

Successful art and science collaborations have an underlying theme of creativity and curiosity, and this project will emulate this diversity to reach a broad audience. The series and exhibitions will be accompanied by a catalog of the cyanotype works and written contributions. It is intended that the publication create an interactive interface between visual art, literature, and science. Currently, six authors and graphic designer Claudine Jaenichen have been invited and are committed to collaborating on the prose of the catalog; Dr. Janna Levin, Jennifer Oullette, Maria Popova, Dr. Lisa Randall, Dava Sobel, and Dr. Anna Leahy.

Artist Lia Halloran is an artist who grew up surfing and skateboarding in the Bay Area and developed a love of science during high school, in her first job, at the Exploratorium in San Francisco doing cow eye dissections and laser demonstrations. Her studio practice has been in dialogue with interactions science and nature for the past fifteen years and is the primary mediator between subject matter. Halloran’s work often makes use of scientific concepts as a starting points that interweave concepts of about sexuality, intimacy and physical movement to produce merged projects that have included astrophysics, magnetism, perception, scale, gravity, giant caves of crystals and ice, cabinets of curiosities, taxonomy, classification, periodic table of elements, skateboarding, and interconnections within the above. Halloran has participated in several interdisciplinary projects with scientists, artists, and architects including Pioneer Works Director of Science, Janna Levin and is currently working on a book with physicist Kip Thorne about the warped side of the universe with Kip's poetry and her paintings. Halloran received her BFA from the University of California, Los Angeles, and her MFA in Painting in Printmaking from Yale University and is an Assistant Professor at Chapman University.

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In addition to research and documentation of Lia Halloran's Your Body is a Space That Sees, on display November 12 only in the SACI Gallery: an original space suit and bio-suit loaned and produced by Dainese, designed in collaboration with Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), D-Tec, and the Industrial Design Studio of Trotti and Associates (Gui Trotti); the Morris replica of Galileo’s telescope, on loan from the Museo Galileo; an “invisible” sandal on loan from the Museo Salvatore Ferragamo; a video installation about Palazzo dei Cartelloni, Galileo Galilei, and Vicenzo Viviani by Laura Villani, English translations of the Latin text about Galileo Galilei that appears on the scrolls of the facade of SACI's Palazzo dei Cartelloni; digital display of #FromGalileoToMars SACI Instagram contest results; and in SACI's underground exhibition space, student art works from SACI’s Body Archives course.


SACI Gallery
Palazzo dei Cartelloni
Via Sant'Antonino, 11
50123 Firenze, Italy

T 055 289 948

Open Monday - Friday, 9am - 7pm
Saturday & Sunday 1pm-7pm

Admission is free
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