Ace AIR: Artist, Researcher and Educator, Jeremy Bolen, Translates The Night Sky

We agree with Richard Avedon when he says, “Anything is an art if you do it at the level of an art.” Sculpture, mineral, sound and thought — this is art if you want it to be. From January through June of 2019, we worked with Chicago-based gallerist Andrew Rafacz — of his own Andrew Rafacz Gallery — to curate an artist to stay at Ace Hotel Chicago each Sunday night for our Artists in Residence program. AIR invites members of the community to spend one night at the hotel, write a song, hold a meeting, think out loud or create their next work of art — whatever they choose. The following Monday, we find out what they made and share it with the wider world. Follow along here and through #AceAIR.

This week’s AIR is Jeremy Bolen, a Chicago-based artist, researcher, organizer and educator interested in site-specific, experimental modes of documentation, community engagement and presentation. Much of Bolen’s work involves rethinking systems of recording in an attempt to observe invisible presences that remain from various scientific experiments and human interactions with the earth’s surface. Bolen currently serves as Assistant Professor of Photography at Georgia State University. He is a founding member of the Deep Time Chicago Collective.


Program: Ace AIR
Location: Ace Hotel Chicago
Dates of Stay: 01.06.19
Artist: Jeremy Bolen

“These images are stills from the forthcoming film Casual Invisibility, inspired by my recent exhibition of the same name that recently closed at Soccer Club Club in Chicago. This footage was created by filming the night skyline of Chicago through an archive of glass plate negatives from Yerkes Observatory in Williams Bay, Wisconsin. Yerkes is widely considered the birthplace of modern astrophysics –– and houses the largest refracting telescope ever used for astronomical research, a 40-inch doublet lens refracting telescope.  

These glass plate negatives were created between 1897 and 1960 using the telescope to help astrophysicists observe the unobservable –– to help them see deep into the night sky. I use this archive, in this manner, to help consider a future where light pollution, geo-engineering and other human interventions could make much of what was seen by the astrophysicists no longer visible.”

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