Canali/Canal, 2021

Round 2.1 Hyperpixel display on Raspberry Pi, plexiglass case, metal standoffs, 150mm fresnel lens, jubilee clip, crocodileclips, welding rods, CCTV/POV camera wall mount, LED Stage light on timer.

Duration: 00:01:35

A mistranslation of Italian astronomer Giovanni Schiaparelli‘s ‘canali’, meaning channel, into the English ‘canal’ fuelled much 19th Century speculation on the existence of intelligent civilisations on Mars capable of building canal infrastructures. More recent scholarship suggests that the patterns Schiaparelli saw on Mars were in fact projections/afterimages of the vein structure of the astronomer‘s own eye, a phenomenon common among planetary observers using very high magnification telescopes for extended periods of time. ‘Canal/Canali’ uses Dain AI to interpolate frames between images of the surface of Mars, Schiaparelli’s drawings of canal-like structures on Mars, and the internal vein structure of the eye, creating a machine analog to the entoptic phenomenon of afterimages.

Image sources: ‘Chart of the Planet Mars’ (1891) by Italian astronomer Giovani Schiaparelli; scans and footage of the artist‘s own iris and retina; Valles Marineris hemisphere of Mars (NASA/JPL-Caltech, 2013).

November 21, 2023