All Here, All Now is an immersive experience, marrying still and moving images, using graphic and abstract elements to engage the viewer in a discussion of the greater hypotheses of time and relativity. At the intersection of science and art, Fern Nesson ponders the concepts of the here and now. What does that look like? Sound like?
About All Here, All Now –
Our subjective experience of time is continuous and uniform, emerging from the past and flowing toward the future. But Einstein proved that time varies relative to the speed of light, slowing down or speeding up depending upon our own trajectory through space. And Buddhists say time is cyclical, always repeating. Some physicists even assert that, given the right conditions, time may flow backwards.
As a scientist, I line up with Einstein; spiritually, I feel kinship with Buddhism. Like all of us, I experience the forward flow of time’s arrow, rushing me all too fast into my future. But, as a photographer, I don’t have to choose sides. For me, the debate is both infinitely interesting and totally beside the point. Whatever we believe the nature of time to be, we have only the present moment in which to experience it. Living in that moment and capturing its essence in an image is reward enough.
These images and video are my way of communicating that we have only the present moment. We cannot relive the past and the future will never come. When and if we get there, it will be the present. All here, all now.
Can you tell us about the video that accompanies your photographs?
The soundtrack to “All Here All Now” was composed by Domenico Vicinanza, a particle physicist from Cambridge, England, to commemorate
the 40th birthday of the Voyager 1 spacecraft. It premiered at the SC17 Supercomputing Conference in Denver in November, 2017. Professor Vicinanza created this music using data captured by the Voyager 1’s Low-Energy Charged Particle (LECP) instrument – a special telescope that identifies protons, alpha particles and heavier nuclei in space. Professor Vicinanza turned that data into music using data sonification, mapping from the intervals between numbers to the intervals between the notes of the scale. Every number from the detector became a musical note, creating a melody that followed the entire journey of Voyage 1 from lift-off in 1977 until it exited the solar system in August 2012.
The first half of the piece features stringed instruments echoed by flute, piccolo and glockenspiel. Piano and French horns double these instruments when the spacecraft encountered Jupiter and Saturn, highlighting the rising and falling of the cosmic ray count in the atmosphere of these giant planets. When the spacecraft enters interstellar space, the music changes. The cellos, violas and woodwinds give way to the more ethereal sounds of the harp and celesta. The key also changes from C major to E flat major as does the spacing between the notes, reflecting the dramatic decrease in the charged particles outside our solar system.
Translated into music, the Voyager 1’s journey is mysterious, magical, transcendent. As Professor Vicinanza says: “The entire piece breath[s] and pulsat[es] with the spacecraft. The score is more than just inspired by one of the most successful space missions, it [is a] part of it.”
See the video here on Fern’s video channel on YouTube
We asked Fern to discuss her Atelier experience –
Twenty years ago, I took the Atelier course with Karen Davis and Holly Pedlosky at Radcliffe Seminars. This September, I decide to enroll in the Atelier again, hoping to connect with others who were interested in critiquing work and getting feedback on their own photographs.
I was not disappointed. The excellent teaching and the supportive participation by fellow photographers made the fall and winter fly by. It was so exciting to see the work that each person produced. As to my own work, I was especially impressed with the flexibility that the course offers. I do abstract photography. In the beginning, it was puzzling to my fellow students — and even possibly to the teachers. But they were game. They stayed right with my concept and did their best to understand it. I was so appreciative of their adventurous spirit and incisive critical eyes. Each week, their good advice, made my work better.
What does the future hold?
About Fern L. Nesson –
Fern L. Nesson is a fine art photographer and installation artist who lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts. She received an MFA in Photography from Maine Media College, where she is currently the school’s first post-graduate Fellow. Her spare, abstract photographs are not constructed. Instead, they distill reality to its essence, embodying the moment when mass becomes energy.
Nesson’s videos have been exhibited at the MIT Museum Studio in September-November, 2019 (“La Vérité est la Créatrice d’Illusions”) and at the Meta-Lab Gallery at Harvard in October,2019. (“E=mc2″). She has had three solo exhibitions of her photographs: “E-mc²” at Les Rencontres de la Photographie and Voies Off Festival in Arles, France in 2019, “Be Living” at the Pascal Gallery in Rockport, ME. in 2018 and “The Light Dances” at Panopticon Imaging in Rockland, MA. in 2016. Currently, her work is showing at the Praxis Gallery In Minneapolis, MN.
Her photobook, Signet of Eternity, was recently chosen for the 10th Annual Self-published Photobooks show at the Davis-Orton Gallery (2019) and is currently showing at the Griffin Museum (2020).
“Abstraction and Perception,” an exhibition of Nesson’s photographs will open at the Beacon Gallery in Boston on March, 2020.