Approximately infinite universe 2020-2021
These works were made in the studio, shot on black-and-white analogue film. With a nod to historic astronomy photography, early cinema, and special effects, they are images of constructed dioramas, made out of simple materials to-hand, depicting the cosmos: stars, planets, galaxies. The obvious clues of construction – light bulbs, electric cords, fishing lines etc. – remain visible. Before this series, I had been making photograms – photographs generated without a camera – made by placing objects to block or admit light directly onto a photo-sensitised surface. I wanted to transfer some of these techniques and materials into a three-dimensional space, and to then exploit the distortion and framing that occurs through a camera’s lens to capture them. The resulting photos, some inverted or printed in negative, blur distinctions between macro/micro, and between horizontal and vertical planes, evoking the sense of directionless-ness of space. The images are contained within steel structures, designed with reference to photographic and scientific instruments such as spectrographs, heliographs and telescopes. One of the structures includes a circular aperture cut into the steel, with an attached mirrored armature that creates an eclipsed view of the surroundings. In a sense, the images can be read as ‘fakes’. But in another sense, they are not fakes – they are depictions of the universe, and they are part of the universe. Martin Creed captured something of this in his text piece, which I was also thinking about as I made these works: THE WHOLE WORLD + THE WORK = THE WHOLE WORLD.

Commissioned by The Royal Boanic Gardens, Victoria for Photo 2021, for the site of the Melbourne Observatory.
Commissioning curator: Isobel Parker Philip
Structure design: Youssofzay + Hart
Steel fabrication: Custom Industrial
The title is borrowed from a painting by artist Maria Cruz who had in turn borrowed it from a song and album by Yoko Ono.

Approximately infinite universe 2020-2021, steel, mirror-polished steel, aluminium, digital prints 5 parts (3 parts shown in this iteration).
Installation view, Sydenham International 2024
photograph by Hamish McIntosh
Sydenham International 2024