La création de l’univers / The Creation of the Universe – Martha Street Studio

June 15 to July 27, 2012
Martha Street Studio, Winnipeg, MB

Photos: Larry Glawson

The Creation of the Universe explores the generative nature of print media and its transposition into video animation.

Based on a series of 25 linocuts featuring celestial imagery, this experimental project developed around a creative process inspired by The Library of Babel, by Jorge Luis Borges, which details an endlessly vast library containing all possible books written with an alphabet of 25 characters. The 25 lino blocks used to compose the prints stand in for the alphabet found in The Library, their space motif symbolic of its infinite possibilities. As with ancient books comprised of individual lead characters and printed on a typographic press, I used combinatorial processes to generate (in theory) all the prints possible using her 25-block « alphabet », like so many imaginary celestial landscapes, viewed through the lens of a telescope.

What resulted are 1250 unique images out of a possible 15,625 combinations. Each print is comprised of 3 of the 25 blocks, printed in the 3 primary colours. Though varied in combination, the colour is consistently layered in the order of: yellow; magenta; and cyan. Each block was assigned a number to identify its place within the gradual transformation of this motif. Using a typographic press, each block’s corresponding number was printed in the bottom right corner of each piece, revealing the code of its composition, authenticating its uniqueness.

While I was printing, the thought of God creating the Universe crossed my mind a few times. I imagined myself in his role, randomly combining the elements of the periodic table, getting sometimes a fruitful assemblage, sometimes a series of insignificant amalgams, of mutations, of aborted forms of life. Hence the tongue-in-cheek title: The Creation of the Universe.

The prints are presented in the order implied by their numbers, demonstrating the gradual progression and rhythm of the image in its successive combinations. The installation is accompanied by a video animation made with the prints, using the same combinatorial process but revealing this transformation over time rather than within space.

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