Sarah Hearn

An Unnatural History is an installation that inhabits the space between the continuously shifting realms of science, pseudoscience and science fiction. This project documents the (fictional) discovery of a taxonomy of marine life containing and cooperating with the elements from the periodic table. Using multiple modes of representation, An Unnatural History draws attention to the real and the imagined by revealing biological life and phenomena that are often invisible at first glance. You are invited to join the Institute of Aquatic Research, as together we make unbelievable discoveries deep within the oceans, collect empirical data and struggle to organize, classify and determine the meaning of our findings and the human place within this system.

As science and technology progress, we are constantly faced with redefining, reinterpreting and reconfiguring what we thought we knew about the world around us and previous scientific “facts“ are revealed to have been constructed “beliefs“.

The fulcrum of this work is 118, RA-4 color darkroom prints made from hand drawn negatives. This process explores my fascination with the inherent veracity of photographic images and the role scientific illustration plays in visual literacy. It is my hope that the experience of viewing this work cracks the hard shell of certainty and if only for a moment, suspends you in a state of wonder and disbelief.