On view: March 30 – April 27, 2009
For millions of years only dramatic shifts in terrain informed the reading of the earth’s surface from space. Now the cumulative light from highly urbanized areas creates a new type of information and understanding of the world that reflects human’s dominance over the planet. Christina Seely’s series Lux, titled after the system unit for measuring illumination, presents photographic portraits of the cities within the most brightly illuminated regions on the NASA map of the night earth: the United States, Western Europe and Japan. This project is inspired by the disconnect between the immense beauty produced by man-made light and the complexity of what this light represents.
These economically and politically powerful regions not only have the greatest impact on the night sky but this brightness reflects a dominant cumulative impact on the planet. Collectively they emit approximately 45% of the world’s CO2 and (along with China) act as the top consumers of electricity, energy and resources.
Public dialogue about global warming and energy consumption has increased exponentially since the inception of Lux. For most of human history, man-made light has signified hope and progress within local and global arenas. In this project, light also paradoxically denotes regression or transgression — an index of the complex negative human impacts on the health and future of the planet.
In order to suggest the interchangeability of urbanization and the unilateral impact of these cities on the global environment each photographed location in the series, is indicated by the central latitude and longitude of the depicted city and is simply titled Metropolis.
Photographer Bio: Christina Seely is a photographer and professor based in San Francisco, CA. She has been exhibited nationally and internationally and her work is featured in many private and public collections such as; The West Collection, The Walker Art Center, Yale University, Fidelity Investments, The Boston Public Library, Wellington Management Company, and The National Museum of Women in the Arts. Born (1976) and raised in Berkeley CA, she received a BA from Carleton College (1998) and an MFA in Photography from Rhode Island School of Design (2003). Christina is also a principal member of, Civil Twilight, a design collective who won Metropolis Magazine’s, 2007 Next Generation Design Competition with a proposal for Lunar Resonant Streetlights (streetlights that dim and brighten in correlation with the moon phases).
Interview with Christina Seely and Josh Berger at Plazm magazine
Interview with Christina Seely and Jane Tam at Nymphoto