Experimental by Laura Skinner
Images from the series “Experimental” are based on science experiments found on the Internet and in elementary school science books. Most of these demonstrations are aimed toward young children, and are designed to teach simple but fundamental scientific principles. I adapted and performed more than a dozen experiments for the camera. The images demonstrate concrete principles and ideas: the density of salt water versus fresh water, the reaction of certain metals to heat, the way light responds to different surfaces. They also seek to recreate, on a small scale, directly observable phenomena, such as the formation of a tornado and the appearance of a galaxy in space. As illustrative as the images are, they remain mysterious. They monumentalize and obscure these principles simultaneously. They are both forthright and totally unreliable. Through smoke and mirrors, as well as photography’s tenuous relationship with “truth,” they generate more questions than answers, even as they seek to represent science as a form of the absolute. Ultimately, science can tell us the how of the universe, but never the why. I hope to place this series of images somewhere in the gap that falls between these two cardinal questions.
Laura Skinner lives and works in Louisville, Kentucky.
To view more of Laura’s work, please visit her website.