About the project:
Project Title: Sweat of the Sun
About the project: This project is a direct response to the financial crisis of 2008 and is a desire to connect particular interests, that of global capitalism, technology and conflict and increasingly the role that women have within this arena. In its entirety it will investigate how Gold, with its versatile and unique properties, has become an indispensible component within engineering and electronic industries and how its application as a key nanomaterial is beginning to offer new solutions to a range of global health and environmental challenges.
Many people over the course of history have been drawn to Gold, from the early Spanish pioneers in South America, the colonization of North America instigated by James 1st at a time of financial crisis that led to the well known marriage of John Rolf and Pocahontas in 1617 and of course the ‘Gold Rush’ both in its historical and contemporary forms. For there is in us all a desire to own gold, because of its beauty, its glittering return, its ability to shine in the darkest of days. But our relationship with it in the current global market place is now an act of faith. This act of faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. Photography and hidden data can substantiate the relationship between hegemony and the unique metal.
We are surrounded by Gold every day, concealed in the technology we use – Gold wires the internet, it protects the unseen and is pivotal to the success of many technologies we take for granted, such as the iPhone. The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) developed by NASA is due to be launched in 2018 and will search for the first galaxies that formed in the early universe. The telescope’s 18 hexagonal mirror segments have been covered with a microscopically-thin gold coating, making use of the metal’s properties as an efficient reflector of infrared light. The telescope is the most recent visual and technological development and will supersede the Far Ultraviolet Camera/Spectrograph (UVC), photographed by myself at NASA earlier this year (also coated in Gold), one of the experiments deployed on the lunar surface by the Apollo 16 astronauts in 1972.
And finally let’s not forget that 85% of the gold found today is still used. But the illegal destruction of rainforests and the use of cyanide and nitrogen sulfur to extract the metal continues and is destroying the planet.
This project will provide an innovative and complex view of a familiar topic and further our knowledge on the relationship we have with conflict and technology.
About the recipient: Lisa Barnard’s photographic and film practice is placed in the genre of contemporary documentary. Her work discusses real events, embracing complex and innovative visual strategies that utilise both traditional documentary techniques with more contemporary and conceptually rigorous forms of representation. Barnard connects her interest in aesthetics, current photographic debates around materiality and the existing political climate. Of particular interest to her is the relationship between the military industrial complex, new technological innovations that utilise the screen and the psychological implication of conflict. Barnard receives regular funding, exhibits frequently both nationally and internationally, and has portfolios of her work featured in contemporary photographic publications.
This year in 2015 has seen Barnard exhibit at Evidence, FORMAT festival, Derbyshire, curated by Louise Clements; Sensor at FOTOFEST, Houston, Texas, USA, curated by Jennifer Ward with David Birkin, James Bridle, Mahwish Chishty, Pitch Interactive, Trevor Paglen, was nominated for the Discovery Award at RENCONTRES D’ARLES and will be showing at NOORDERLICHT Photofestival later this month.
She is Senior Lecturer on Documentary Photography Undergraduate and Postgraduate courses at The University of South Wales. She has two publications both with GOST, Chateau Despair and Machines in the Garden, Hyenas of the Battlefield which have been written about extensively in both broad sheet newspapers and Photographic publications, including The Guardian, The Telegraph, The New Statesman, YET, Photoworks, Hotshoe and Paper Journal. This year the Hyenas publication was also nominated for the Prix Du Livre at Rencontres D’Arles. In 2012 Barnard was awarded 20,000 Euros for the Albert Renger Patzsche Book Award.