BAGHDAD MOON - EOS ASTER SATELLITE / ARMSTRONG HASSELBLAD DYPTICH
DATE OF PRODUCTION: 2008
MATERIALS + DIMENSIONS: Fuji Crystal Archive Prints mounted on 1/8” Non Glare Plexi Face Mount. Size: Each Print: 30”X30” Total Size: 30” x 60”
Baghdad Moon - EOS ASTER Satelite /Armstrong Hassleblad dyptich uses imagery captured by Neil Armstrong on July 20, 1969 as he first set foot on the moon, and a thermal emission image of Baghdad captured the morning after the first bombing at the outset of Operation Shock and Awe, March 31, 2003, by the EOS ASTER Satellite. Using an analog hasselblad camera Neil Armstrong made decisions regarding focus, exposure and framing, while the Eos Aster is a digital satellite capture where ground temperature is assigned a color and renders an image that is a function of the altitude, atmosphere, and the thermal properties of Baghdad after being bombed. The ground conditions of Baghdad render the image red, white, blue and black – the outlying rural areas and vegetation - red, the buildings and densely urban areas - white, the Tigris river - blue, and the plumes of smoke billowing across the sky - black. The diptych presents the singular explorer on the left, having arrived at a unexplored territory (Sir Edmund Hillary on Everest, Shackleton on Antarctica, Armstrong on the moon) to that of a collective national vision on the right - an extension of the nation’s eyes focusing on marks it left on the landscape. Looking at Buzz Aldrin’s face shield we see the reflection of Neil Armstrong – who is in essence taking a picture of himself. An example of travel to a distant site to take a picture of his body in that landscape to verify that he was in fact there. In the same vein the EOS ASTER’s chromo-thermal rendering of Baghdad is an extension of this same impulse, evidence of a collective national tourist experience where the author is a robot executing directives from a group of people sitting thousands of miles from the site and further from the Aster Satellite itself, yet it clearly verifies that we were there.