First Light

calibrated supernovas

This project is a collaboration with Luca Antonucci

20" x 26" CMYK color separation screen prints corresponding to their relative time and distance in light | 30" x 36" Lambda prints of calibrated supernovas | Color calibration system | First Light publication, Conveyor 2010

Recently, the Hubble Ultra Deep Field imaging system unveiled the deepest portrait of the visible universe ever achieved by humankind that reveals the first light from 13.5 billion years ago. The exposure lasted for eleven and a half days and is as far back as any human eye has seen to the origins of the universe. The transmission of this information involved unencrypting and compositing it using a Near Infrared Camera and a Multi object Spectrometer to gauge the distance, and corresponding color information. This instrumental mediation resulted in both a map, and an interpolation of light waves from 13.5 billion years ago into their corresponding spectrum of color with red representing the furthest light, and blue representing the closest light.

In mirroring the working methodology of the Hubble image, the resulting images have been deconstructed using a CMYK screen printing process resulting in five prints, one for each of the color channels, and one for the composited image. This process departs from the original images intent and information by seeking to access what is hidden within the information and not within the resulting image. The images become reciprocal dialogues revealing multiple truths both in their form and in the mechanics of their production. Much like scans of an MRI, the images reveal privileged views of cross sections within each layer, but also guard against us ever seeing the whole picture.

As a guide to the processes being utilized, a color balance calibration target was also produced that corresponds to the density, saturation, and intensity of color from the original Hubble image that has broken the colors down into their most pure form. The target can then be placed in the frame of any image and balanced to the colors of the first light from the universe, thereby inflecting the first light of the universe into a multitude of images.