The scene is set. An assessment is carried out. A frame is chosen.
Stored chemical energy remains in a suspended state connected to a family of circuits. Calculations of time and space are thought through in accordance with available light. A finger hovers as tension builds. A moment is decided. Connection: simultaneously the keeper of time opens while a reaction occurs. A discharge of electrical energy: electrons are released to the negative terminal. Electrically charged atoms that have gained or lost move through the catalysts. Oxidation reaction occurs. The current moves with intention, reaching a chamber filled with a noble gas, odourless, colourless. Electrical force builds, breaking the atoms in a violent manner. Positive and negative are split, crashing into electrodes. A micro-bolt of lightning strikes and photons are discharged, daylight is simulated at 5000 Kelvins. Photons, massless particles, travel in wave formation (299 792 458 m/s) and connect with the surface.
The scene waits. Quiet. A blinding light renders out of the darkness and, in that moment, its existence is proven, quantified, justified, seen. A plant spills its foliage like the tentacles of an octopus. Barbed for defence, it remains defiant in this harsh rocky environment. It has a history, a lineage, it belongs to the Aloaceae family. Light is its livelihood—photons converted into chemical energy. The by-product is oxygen, the air we breathe. Can it tell the difference between the sun’s rays and artificial simulated light?
The plant climbs steadily up a rock face. Its surface rusted, worn and exposed to the elements, it is slowly breaking down. Where was it created? Was it formed from the detritus of the ocean floor, or under extreme heat and pressure deep below the crust of the earth? How many millions of years old is it? These two different forms of matter that have exceptionally different lifespans sit here together, sharing a narrative.
Darkness entirely fills the background. Photons reaching an empty space or a black surface have an untimely fate. The spectrum is either consumed in the absolute absorption of light, or travels on infinitely until an interception.
Reflections travel back in straight lines though a series of organising lenses. The window is still open and the photons reach the point of conversion. A silicon surface is broken into the smallest sensitive elements known as pixels. A photon collides with a pixel and emits a charge: photoelectrons, their nature is to read as red, green or blue. This charge travels to the converter and each pixel’s information is stored as a series of ones and zeros. A record is archived, metadata attached, and is set to be deciphered back into an assemblage. The keeper of time closes. Time and space are recorded and transferred to a two-dimensional form. A process of acceptance completes the circuit. The photographer moves on.
Written by Jonathan Kay