Valle Mortis
past event — exhibition
date and location
Apr 22nd — Jun 10th, 2023
By appointment only

Sage Culture Gallery
725 E Washington Blvd
Los Angeles CA 90021
past event — exhibition
Sage Culture is pleased to present Brooke Holm's latest body of work, Valle Mortis, an audiovisual exploration into the temporal crisis that is the past, present, and future as humanity looks to Mars as a speculative counterpart to life on Earth.

The work depicts the topographical similarities between Death Valley and Martian terrain through lenticular prints consisting of the artist's aerial photographs of Death Valley, paralleled with those of the HiRise (High-Resolution Imaging Science Experiment) by NASA/JPL/University of Arizona.
Through lenticular printing techniques, the viewer witnesses a photograph of Earth's transition to its likeness on Mars. Color transitions to black and white, the present transitions to the future, and the future transitions to the past. The result is a celestial body of photographs suspended in time, neither quite here nor there, at once familiar and unknowable. These photographs require bodily engagement from the viewer to receive the full effect - the image transforms only when the viewer orbits around it.
Simultaneously, a single-channel video presents a slow-tempo, meditative aerial survey of Death Valley's endorheic Badwater Basin. Scattered human footsteps dance below sea level around the dried ancient lake bed, off-roading vehicle tracks have gradually become part of the landscape, and traces of present life mingle with remnants of past life. Martian audio data from the NASA Perseverance rover has been synthesized and composed into a deep droning soundscape that vibrates and oscillates, its repetition representing the cyclical nature of humankind's obsession with a future that is ever-bound to the past.
"My work observes the celestial and anatomical body of the Earth through photography, video, and sound. Creating detailed environmental portraits of its elemental features, I focus on the physical body of our planet, often treated by humankind as we treat any body, with opposing practices of reverence and exploitation. Finding inspiration through satellite imagery for its textural and shapely observations of what lies below, I photograph detailed portraits of landscapes from the air - within the tropospheric realm between Earth and Space. From above, the landforms shift perspective, and the macro becomes the micro. From this perspective, one is temporarily disentangled from their conventional viewpoint and introduced to the unfamiliar, and the connection between Earth and all of its inhabitants is revealed. My research and creation of this project have involved searching through thousands of images of Mars, captured by the highest resolution camera that exists, the HiRise, built by the University of Arizona/Ball Aerospace & Technologies - and editing, curating, and comparing them with my own images of Earth. While many photographs from locations around the world in my archives matched with the HiRise imagery, I chose to focus on one location, Death Valley in the Mojave desert. Death Valley is significant in its use as an analog site for space missions, and its variety of landforms and processes are observed to be relevant to Martian studies." 
"While I had begun photographing Death Valley in early 2020, the concept for the lenticular output of the works was conceived during a studio artist residency program at MASS MoCA in early 2021. Working with the Mars imagery and my already created imagery, I began collaging, scanning, and comparing the work, creating pairs of matching topographies. After the residency, I returned to Death Valley and worked with another pilot to create the remaining imagery and video work. Valle Mortis is my first project to incorporate a multidisciplinary approach by exhibiting video and audio work alongside photography. The lenticular works manifest as photographic sculptures, framed in fabricated aluminum and titled with the coordinates of both the Earth and Mars location where they were captured. The concept for this project has been formulated over three years and is inspired by my long-term interests in satellite imagery, temporal mythologies, geological forces that shape landforms, and, specifically, the visual similarities found amongst terrestrial, celestial bodies. I have followed the work of HiRise since its inception, often astounded by the similarities found within my own archive of work. Thanks to the technology created by NASA, JPL, and the University of Arizona, we can see the surface of a planet that is Ninety-five million miles away in shocking detail. Valle Mortis brings this home, showing us the direct correlation and connection between worlds," says Brooke Holm.
Brooke Holm is an Australian-American artist working primarily with photography and, recently, video and sound. Holm studies the celestial and anatomical body of the Earth, creating detailed environmental portraits of its elemental features. In her work, Holm explores whether the concept of connection, particularly between humans and non-human nature, is more discernible when altering the physical and experiential norms of everyday perspective. Taking inspiration from satellite imagery, she creates aerial photographs to simultaneously connect with the world and step back from our conventional viewpoint. By disrupting the scale at which we typically consume the natural world, the flaws in our anthropocentric narratives become more apparent while coexistence with our environment and all its inhabitants emerge as our only way forward. Valle Mortis is part of Sage Culture's Arts & Environment program. Brooke Holm's detailed and profound exploration of the natural world and her scientific approach to understanding the connections between Earth and Mars have resulted in a beautiful, intelligent body of work. Her innovative use of lenticular prints presents a unique visual experience, where layers of interlaced images are combined to create an illusion of depth and movement, drawing the viewer into a thought-provoking journey between worlds.
Valle Mortis - Brooke Holm's Solo Exhibition
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