Melanie King’s research is concerned with the visual language that is currently associated with astronomy. How are astronomical images mediated by institutions such as NASA / the ESA before they are published for consumption by the general public?
Recent research papers written by the artist consider texts on semiology, phenomenology and the index when applied to astronomical images and recordings.
The artists explores these ideas through direct interactions with celestial objects using photography, video and sound/frequency visualisation. The artist often seeks opportunities to directly view and capture celestial objects, and benefits from journeys to dark sky areas.
Recent projects include photographic etchings made from meteorite fragments, an oscilloscope fed by pulsar data, daguerreotypes of the planet Mercury and a series of photographic prints caused by the sun, moon and stars.
Melanie King was born in Manchester in 1988.
She studied on BA Fine Art at Leeds College of Art from 2008-2011, before graduating with a Distinction for the MA in Art and Science at Central Saint Martins in 2013.
Melanie is currently studying towards a PhD at the Royal College of Art, and is Founder and Co-Director of the London Alternative Photography Collective.
Photo-etching with meteorite-imbued ink, 2016.
Etymologically speaking, celestography refers to the act of “drawing from the heavens”. A celestograph is an image or recording which is caused in some way by a celestial object. My research specifically focuses on the epistemic and phenomenological implications of celestography, considering how it is possible to physically grasp and transform light and matter originating from outside of Earth.
In Meteotypes, I specifically explore the curious interaction between the function of images and how they are caused. The Meteotype is a photographic etching print where the ink forming the image is imbued with the very same material that it represents. The image is “caused” in the indexical sense where light bounces off of an object and into the camera.
However, it could be said that the viewer has a 'physical' connection with the original meteorite which has been transformed into ink. The individual fragments of meteorite dust can be seen, as they glisten when held under strong sunlight.
With special thanks to the Royal School of Mines at Imperial College London and the intaglio printmaking department at the Royal College of Art.