TheArt of Blackboard Scribbling
Over the course of several months in 1997 and 1998, photographer Jean Therrien-Gottschalk took pictures of Fermilab astrophysicist Lam Huis blackboard, creating a series of four compositions titled according to the day on which the blackboard was photographed. Each is composed of multiple views of Huis blackboard, laid out in a grid pattern. Together they depict the process, not just the final product, of research, representing visually and aesthetically the unfolding of scientific ideas.
Says Therrien-Gottschalk of her work: "The erasures and corrections [on the blackboard] show the evolution of ideas and thoughts represented by mathematical symbols and sketches. Photography has been used to document scientific subjects since its inception, and my work has aspects of a documentary approach. However, I am also striving to use photography to elucidate a more conceptual representation of scientific process. For example, the blackboard is photographed in its entirety, including all symbols and sketches. I take the liberty to group the subject matter by photographing the blackboard in segments with overlapping content, and I present the work as individual building blocks depicting the entire subject. My goal is to engage the viewer in the scientific process by showing subject matter that is identifiable , yet encourages exploration and discovery."
Hui was thrilled to see his "scribbles transported in space and time onto [Therrien-Gottschalks] photos." He said it gave his "work a depth that I didnt appreciate before. It was interesting and a pleasure to see how my daily struggle on the chalk board evolved with time."
|last modified 4/2/1999 email Fermilab|