To Touch The Face of God

This video uses the Challenger disaster of 1986 as a jumping off point for thinking about the intersection of nationalism, death, desire, love, ideology, and popular culture. The relativistic and cyclical way tragedy is consumed and reproduced by all of us, day in day out, as not just a process of the news cycle, but of each individual as we internalize the events relative to our identity—constructing our own narrative of the event, filtered through our experiences, beliefs, and preconceptions.

Like the Challenger disaster, which was caused by a known weakness (a small flaw that was normalized and routinely dismissed), innate flaws within ourselves and the systems we create bubble dangerously just below the surface.

The photo below is a related piece made from another YouTube video in the same year.

American Flag Waving in a Blue Sky with High Wind [10 Hours]
Long exposure of YouTube video playing on screen, shot on 4×5
Archival Inkjet Print
40 x 60”

Sources include audio from the album "The Shape of Punk" to Come by the Refused, celestial recordings of radio emissions from space, "I Will Always Love You" by Dolly Parton, excerpts from a 1986 episode of Punky Brewster, TV static, a 10 hour YouTube video of the American Flag waving, dead mice in my kitchen, and stop motion animation made in residency at a junk yard in Philadelphia.

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Ⓒ E. Aaron Ross 2024