Geoffrey H. Short: Towards Another (Big Bang) Theory
New Zealand artist Geoffrey H. Short’s photo series, Towards Another (Big Bang) Theory, is an ongoing project that explores “the relationship between terror and the sublime.” Short looks to the philosophy of Immanuel Kant, who explains in his Critique of Judgement (1790) that the sublime is split into two forms, the mathematical and the dynamical. As Kant claims, the sublime is “absolutely great” and differs from our notions of beauty because beauty is can be easily defined, reduced to a specific formula or set of rules. The sublime, on the other hand, is indefinite, formless, or “boundless” when witnessed from an aesthetic standpoint. Short’s photographs capture Kantian notions of the sublime by presenting the chemical explosion as a “boundless” aesthetic subject.
The series documents explosions that were performed for the camera with the use of fossil fuels and gunpowder; materials that represent various ties to the political and cultural history of the world and the environment.
Not only does this series mediate the principal of terror as an element of the sublime, but it also artfully demonstrates the effects of such highly explosive materials in the world. The photographs are visually stunning and rich with colours that draw the viewer in. However, the process of capturing the images is rather risky. One mistake could cause serious damage to the environment and those involved with the art process. The element of danger that surrounds these stunning explosions allows Short to effectively simulate the feeling of the sublime in these works.
For more information about Short’s works, visit his website here.
- Victoria Nolte