Gwenneth Boelens – Events Unwitnessed          

Events Unwitnessed, 2011-2012


1-3: collodion glass negative (from positive), copper, paint, metal, 200(w) x 150(h) x 100(d) cm, installation views Basis, Frankfurt


4-5: collodion glass negatives (from positive), copper, brass, paint, 67,5(h) x 94,5(w) x 9(d) cm and 50(h) x 63(w) x 6(d) cm

"These images were taken in Northern California (US) in 2009. The ‘rocks’ you see are two pieces of lava (scoria) that were spewed out of a volcano. They are quite large; one has probably a diameter of about one meter and the other is almost as big as a person. When I was at their location I was quite blown away by the presence of these pieces. Here were those strange dark things lying around arbitrarily, unmoved, coming from the inside of the earth, lying there for an unknown amount of years and for an unknown amout of time to come. It was one of these moments one is confronted with his own temporary presence and the long ‘unknown’ history of a place.

It was first said that pioneers in 1851 witnessed the outburst of the volcano. This is exactly the year the photographic collodion process was discovered. Later geologists found out the outburst must have taken place two centuries earlier in 1666.

As I have used a technique invented in 1851 it feels a bit as if I could have been this false witness; documenting at that time, with the technique of that time, the result of the outburst. Of course we now know this is in two ways not true and actually impossible. No one was there to witness it, at least there are no records of it." (taken from notes)

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