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Off Stage: Reading Aftermath (A Geological Survey)

Thursday, May 4, 2017 - 6:00pm to 7:00pm
Reception to follow
Members $15 and Non-members $20

Off Stage: Reading Aftermath (A Geological Survey)

Sharon Harper

Geological events are sometimes sudden and violent, like volcanic eruptions or earthquakes. Other times, the actions are subtle and virtually imperceptible. In both cases, these events took place off stage, leaving us with no more than a photograph of the aftermath. These photographs activate our curiosity to “read” sites for the stories, embedded in geology, that implicate us in a relationship to the land. The images evoke the scientific process of examining land as evidence and suggest our existential connection to the natural processes that dwarf our lifespan.

In this lecture, Sharon Harper will present photographs from her series Geological Survey/Aftermath. These images contain a visual language and logic that heighten the geological phenomena responsible for their contents. Cross-pollination between the visual languages of different groups of photographs bring them into conversation with each other to tell a broader, ongoing story of land formation.

Sharon Harper holds an MFA in photography and related media from the School of Visual Art in New York. Her work explores the intersection of technology and perception, and is held in the permanent collections of MoMA, the Whitney Museum of American Art, Harvard Art Museums, and the New York Public Library, among others. Harper has received artist residency fellowships at Yaddo in Saratoga Springs, the Headlands Center for the Arts in Sausalito, the Ucross Foundation in Wyoming, the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity in Canada, and more. She is a recipient of a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship in Photography and is currently a professor of visual and environmental studies at Harvard.

This program is part of “Crossroads,” a four-part series investigating the relationships between and intersections of the arts and sciences. The founders of the Boston Athenæum collected voraciously and encyclopedically across disciplines, acquiring materials in medicine, law, literature, fine art, natural history, and more. They leased space to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and envisioned art studios alongside a (never-realized) chemistry lab housed under the Athenæum’s roof. Join us as we continue the legacy of our founders and explore the similarities and differences in how scientists and artists approach their work, ask and answer questions about the natural world and human society, and interact with each other within and across disciplines. Other programs in this series are:

Stories from the Great Transition: How the Arts Prepare Us for Life in the Time of Climate Change
Wednesday, February 15, 2017
6-7 pm
Lecture by Green Mountain College Professor Laird Christensen

Music, Conservation, and the Environment
Thursday, April 13
6-7 pm
Performance and discussion with ECCE Ensemble

Frame by Frame: Snaps of the Intersection of Science and Photography
Tuesday, April 18
6-7:30 pm
Panel discussion with scientists cum art photographers Bob Hesse, Jim Nickelson, and Thibault Roland

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