In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

  • From Your Body Is a Space That Sees, 2016
  • Lia Halloran (bio)

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Lia Halloran
CRATER HYPATIA, 2016
Cyanotype print, painted negative on paper, 40 x 25 in.

[End Page 3]


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Lia Halloran
SPECTRA, AFTER ANTONIA MURRAY (detail), 2016
Ink on drafting film, 76 x 76 in.

[End Page 5]


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Lia Halloran
PAPER DOLLS (detail), 2016
Ink on drafting film, 40 x 132 in.

[End Page 27]


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Lia Halloran
SPECTRA, AFTER ANNIE JUMP CANNON, 2016
Cyanotype print, painted negative on paper, 76 x 42 in.

[End Page 59]


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Lia Halloran
top: COMET, AFTER ANNIE JUMP CANNON, 2016
Cyanotype on paper, with matching negative ink on drafting film, 76 x 76 in. each


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NEBULAE, AFTER WILLIAMINA FLEMING, 2016
Ink on drafting film, with matching positive cyanotype on paper, 76 x 76 in. each

[End Page 60]


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Lia Halloran
SPECTRA, AFTER ANTONIA MURRAY, 2016
Cyanotype on paper, with matching negative ink on drafting film,
76 x 76 in. each

[End Page 61]


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Lia Halloran
GLOBULAR CLUSTER, AFTER CECILIA PAYNE, 2016
Cyanotype print, painted negative on paper, 42 x 76 in.

[End Page 77]


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Lia Halloran
LUNAR CRATER, AFTER CAROLINE HERSCHEL, 2016
Cyanotype print, painted negative on paper, 40 x 25 in.

[End Page 101]

>> Your Body Is a Space That Sees

Your Body Is a Space That Sees is a series of large-scale cyanotype works inspired by the fragmented history and contributions of women in astronomy. The series offers a visual account and female-centric astronomical catalog of craters, comets, galaxies, and nebulae, drawing from narrative, visual, and historical accounts of a group of women known as “Pickering’s Harem” or the “Harvard Computers,” who worked at the Harvard Observatory starting in 1879. This little-known group of women made a significant impact in the field of astronomy by using photographic glass plates to catalogue and classify the size, brightness, and chemical content of stars. The key to unlocking the distance of the universe was discovered by one of these women, Henrietta Swan Leavitt, based on her observation of variable stars. Her discoveries provided evidence that subsequently supported Edwin Hubble’s expanding universe theories. The important contributions of these women to the fields of astronomy and astrophotography were compensated with wages less than half of what their male counterparts would have been paid.


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Women employees of the Harvard Observatory, the “Harvard Computers,” Cambridge, Massachusetts, c. 1925.

Photo courtesy of the Harvard College Observatory

Harvard University houses the largest collection of astronomical glass plates in the world—over 500,000, taken between the mid-1880s and 1992, including some of the early daguerreotype of the moon. Research for this series was done in partnership with the archives at the Harvard College Observatory to identify specific plates that were studied and catalogued by the approximately eighty women in the “Harvard Computers” group. These plates serve as a reference for large paintings of the galaxies and stellar objects. Your Body Is a Space That Sees offers the experience of the night sky through the discoveries made by these astronomers. [End Page 102]

The cyanotype works are created by painting stellar images on semi-transparent drafting film. They are then pressed over paper coated with light-sensitive emulsion and exposed to the sun. The resulting piece is a cyanotype print of the positive image in equal scale to its matching negative: a photographic print created without a camera. This process, which mimics early astronomical glass plates moving between transparent surfaces, is multilayered in meaning and technique: images of stars created by a star (our sun), paintings used to create a painting (light-sensitive emulsion exposed by another painting). Cliché-verre—a method that creates a photograph by painting on a glass plate used as the negative—was popular in the...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1080-6539
Print ISSN
0300-7162
Pages
pp. 100-103
Launched on MUSE
2016-12-27
Open Access
No
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