Per Pulverem Ad Astra

For Per Pulverem Ad Astra, Eva Stenram made negatives from NASA’s digital images of Mars and let these gather dust in her apartment before printing them. The resulting marked image is a combination of extreme distance and extreme proximity, a simultaneous gravitational pull towards the earth, to the dust around – and by extension, towards death – and a pull upwards, into space, away from the earth, towards the attraction, both physical and fantastical, of Mars. 

Inspired by a fascination for images from and of space, as well as surrealist photography (in particular Man Ray’s portfolio Electricité) and experiments in ‘thoughtography’ (attempts, originating in the late nineteenth century, to photograph mental images, which often appear as blurs and visual ‘static’), the series also invites debate around ownership, copyright, national borders and colonisation.

Source images courtesy of NASA/JPL-Caltech

Supported by Pavilion Commissions Programme 2007
Works from Per Pulverem Ad Astra are held in the permanent collections of Moderna Museet (SE) and the Victoria and Albert Museum (UK).
Read "The Remotely Infinite, or The Infinitely Remote: Eva Stenram's 'Per Pulverem Ad Astra'" by Ben Burbridge.
Per Pulverem Ad Astra 1.4 was awarded first prize in the Man Group Photography Prize 2007.