Video conceived by Izabella Pruska-Oldenhof, and executed with the assistance of Cecilia Inkol and Rekha Ramachandran.
(This video was commissioned by Ryerson Image Centre in Toronto for its Salah J. Bachir New Media Wall)
Looking at the millions of stars in the universe is looking into the past. The universe is an archive of light—of past light. As light travels through space over time, its voyage leaves its traces either as starlight we can see in the night sky or as photographic inscriptions (on paper, acetate, or CCD) in our family albums and home movies. Therefore, photographic archive is essentially an archive of light, of timeless moments drawn in light. Relics of Lumen draws on the Black Star photography collection, housed at Ryerson University’s Image Centre archive in Toronto (Canada), and on astrophotography and moving images obtained from NASA’s digital archives.
Relics of Lumen combines various still and moving images captured over the last century of people in travel (tourists, explorers, immigrants, refugees, and migrant workers), and technologies of transport and communication. It deploys the technique of mosaic (photo mosaic software) in its visual composition not only to echo its prevalent use in astrophotography but also the past role of mosaics as conveyors of (oral) histories.