Although her training is in sculpture, Shirreff is much admired for her photographs and videos that address the condition of sculpture at the present moment: how do we know the world at a time when our experience of it seems to be slipping inexorably from the tactile, embodied, and material into the virtual and endlessly mediated? Roden Crater is inspired by James Turrell's magnum opus Earthwork – a massive, naked-eye observatory to view celestial phenomena carved out of a four-hundred-thousand-year-old, two-mile-wide extinct volcano near Flagstaff, Arizona, begun in 1980 and still unfinished. Shirreff shows the crater from a distance, slowly rotating through a seemingly endless variety of atmospheric effects. It is only when a bright sunlike shape moves across the sky that the pebbly surface of the photographic print at which we are actually looking becomes recognizable. In fact, the entire celestial symphony was created in the artist's studio by first printing out an image of the crater from the Internet, setting it up opposite a fixed camera, and shooting it hundreds of times under different light conditions in the studio.
Artist: Darren Almond (British, born 1971)Date: 1995Medium: Single-channel digital video, transferred from Super-8 film, black-and-white and color, sound, 12 min.Accession: 2001.587On view in:Gallery 851