Roden Crater

Erin Shirreff (Canadian, born 1975)
Single-channel digital video, color, silent, 14 min., 34 sec.
Variable Media
Credit Line:
Purchase, Marian and James H. Cohen Gift, in memory of their son, Michael Harrison Cohen, 2010
Accession Number:
Rights and Reproduction:
© 2009 Erin Shirreff
Not on view
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.
[Lisa Cooley Fine Art, New York]

The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Between Here and There: Passages in Contemporary Photography," July 2, 2010–February 13, 2011.

Allen, Jan, Sandra Dyck, and Jenifer Papararo. Erin Shirreff. Ottawa: Carleton University Art Gallery, 2013.