Melanie is a Multi-Disciplinary artist and curator with a specific focus on astronomy.
She is co-Director of super/collider, Lumen Studios and the London Alternative Photography Collective. She is a member of ITACCUS (The Committee for the Cultural Utilisation of Space) in association with the International Astronautical Federation.
Melanie is currently studying towards a PhD at the Royal College of Art. See RCA Research Profile.
Melanie's research is concerned with the visual language that is currently associated with astronomy. Melanie seeks to find our how visible and invisible celestial objects and phenomena are represented in the field of art and science. Her research compares how these images are produced, disseminated and interpreted.
The visual language currently used in the field of astronomy, specifically Hubble imagery, relies upon sophisticated composite imaging techniques, which has led to a "false" perception of what we might see through the lens of a telescope. Astronomical institutions often mediate an image before it is viewed by the general public, where colours are added that are informed by processes such as spectroscopy. Following the advent of social media and news images, these highly mediated images have become widely distributed.
Through the production of a series of artworks, Melanie considers how it is possible to ‘come into contact’ with celestial objects using a variety of representational techniques. Alongside scientific institutions, Melanie’s research considers how astronomical images are constructed, and suggests a number of alternatives.
Melanie works with photography, video and sound/data visualisation techniques. The artist often seeks opportunities to directly view and capture celestial objects, and benefits from journeys to dark sky areas. Recent projects include photographic etchings made from meteorite fragments, a series of oscillograph installations fed by pulsar and cosmic ray data, daguerreotypes of the planet Mercury and a series of photographic prints caused by the sun, moon and stars. Also in 2017, Melanie has been working with Kielder Observatory and the UCLO Observatory to capture photographic images of stars and planets directly onto photographic film.
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