> I am in a mad rush to finish my writing and need an immediate answer to a question from you. Explain the original "Aether Vane" 1974 work to me. There is a sterio pair of reflection DCG holos attached to a machine. What is the machine? The suggestion is that the work is sterioscopic but as they are holos they are already 3D.


First, what it was:

The original (1974) holo pair was silver halide reflection holograms; the construction-machine sat in a box surrounded by synthetic 'cobwebs'. (This installation had to be re-constructed every time it was exhibited, much to the 'chagrin' of the exhibitors, but they did it anyways.) The cobwebs alluded to the 'antiquity' of the machine/idea (ether). The original holos were destroyed in storage at the Burnaby Art Gallery and were replaced by DCG versions in the 90's. (DCG from Holocrafts/Cullen, to whom the piece was donated finally for 'safe keeping'.)

The 'themes': 'Aether' (old English) refers to 'ether' - the medium once-thought as necessary for the propagation of electro-magnetic waves. The notion of ether was held on to by Maxwell (and by Tesla) and 'disproven' by Michelson-Morley (Albert Michelson won a Nobel Prize for his work in measurement of speed of light) and later by Einstein. (What was 'disproven' was the 'mechanical' model of propagation of e-m energy through a 'medium' - e.g. like ripples in water or acoustical energy.)

'Aether Vane' is a 'machine' - frozen in cobwebs - revealing wind-vane like socks (orthoscopic and pseudoscopic images) - and gears and pedestal. The machine appears to 'not to be functioning', but 'how else to explain the presence of luminous receptacles' which have 'caught light' in a peculiar way....so maybe the 'functioning' is not in the 'movement' (of a maching turning) but in the 'revelation' of 'light occupying space'.

If, as the classic interpretation of ether would have it, this ('ether') medium is all-pervasive ('universal') then why could it not be 'revealed' (as present) in the holographic metaphor of images (spatial constructs) occupying a fleeting space? If the medium (of 'ether') does not exist, then 'explain the presence of that which 'appears to have captured light'....(questions that invoke humor and paradox). A similar question to the viewer was: does the presence of seemily-solid vanes (wind 'socks') allude to a medium (ether) by which these images are 'trasported'? And, how does a effigy/image occupy 'space' if there is 'nothing' for it to 'hang on' (i.e. 'space is empty').

(Of course, there are geometric-optical 'explanations' for how light is focused, diffracted, etc., but these explanations are dealing with 'perception' and 'phenomenon' and less interested in 'imagination' and 'possibility'.)

So, in a way, this piece 'Aether Vane' was a comment on the idea that perhaps the 'mechanical model of ether as a medium for the propagation of light/energy' may have been disproven, but the 'metaphysical model' (alchemical model) of 'space containing substance and creative 'mind' ' (a vehicle for 'imagination') could never be 'disproven'.

Aside from the obvious humor and my propensities for 'surrealist' strategems of 'making strange', invoking 'the marvelous' and the 'chance meeting of....', and these propensities were visible in other works ('Collapsed Staircase', 'Venetian Blind', 'Window', etc.), I viewed the task of making sculptural 'hybrids' that featured holographic and sculptural elements as something that could present paradoxical situations, comment on perception, on science, on knowlege, and comment on 'art'.

(I can tell you that in the era of image-plane bromid-bleached locomotives and mickeys, this type of work was 'incomprehensible' to the techno-crowd....)