Bianca Salvo’s The Universe Makers concerns itself with the discovery of the unseen: it deals with time and energy rather than materiality. Drawing upon collective memories through archival material and personal reflections, Salvo’s work is conceived as visual elegies centred around the theme of what is authentic when it comes to the unknown. Salvo intervenes and challenges accepted, documented information for the purpose of questioning their informative function and authenticity. The images and documents are, for the first time, displayed in Norway at Atelier Noua, and will showcase genuine NASA imagery and installation pieces.
The project is conceived as a multi-layered installation comprising texts, sculptures, archival images, still photographs and a photo-book. Composed by different parts such as In event of Moon Disaster, The day the Earth Stood Still, The Stars my Destination, Earthman Come Home, and Time and Again, this comprehensive body of work focuses on analysing the link between collective belief and the photographic document. Each part thrives to explore abstractions of the collective unconscious related to our perception of the outward space. The artist collected documents and visual records from various research centres with the intention of providing the viewer with vivid depictions of our remote universe and, finally, to create realistic proofs of outward space exploration. Science fiction also massively contributed in setting up our idea of an outward infinite galaxy, waiting for us to be explored, studied and colonised, suggesting, through outward sensory vision, the exploration of metaphysical ideas of non-sensory insight. The Universe Makers attempts to map evidence of an outward space through exploring the role that media, photography, technology, and science fiction have played in producing traces that still address our collective imagery towards believes, fake conceptions and constructed scenarios.
There is still a place for the unknown; a constant quest for knowledge and progress, but the mysterious and the unknown is what really activates the artists’ mind and imagination. One’s brain is an incredible resource that can take imagination to extremely distant places, but of course, as human beings, we do have limits. The universe is completely boundless, mysterious and endless, where the concept of spacetime is difficult to envision and understand; where matter and energy distort space/time, curving it around themselves.
How can the human mind possibly conceive it?
From the first fish coming out of the sea, the first being to develop wings on this Earth, to the appearance of the first man on the moon, the future of civilisation is a curved line and it is representative of our existence; the existence of human beings and everything that has come before us. There is an interesting narrative unfolding when reading Salvo’s images and sculpture in a curated sequence; moving between the outside space with her monuments made for observance, to more personal, interior shots whose imagery may also feel like it is preserved in amber. She creates, through her work, a feeling of surreal detachment, a sense of disengagement from time and the physical world. Collectively, her images explore themes of mythology, history, nature, and the collective subconscious. Being alive today with all the knowledge and technology that we currently experience, allows us to reflect on who we are and how we relate to the rest of the universe. The fascination of The Universe Makers is very much linked to the fact that, as humans, we will never be able to see these detailed views of planets and other galaxies, we have to rely on visual depictions to understand what these places look like, or may look like.
The Universe Makers is on view at Atelier NŌUA until 14 July 2018
Interview by Francesca Marcaccio / Published 29 June 2018