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Visual Arts

Georgie Friedman |  Photographs

by Joshi Radin

When I first saw Georgie Friedman’s Flight Series, I was drawn in by the abstract color patterns, their structured presentation within a modernist grid. But Friedman’s photographs are about much more than the formal relations between colors and the harmonious division of space—the series explores time and technology, repetition and difference, the thrill of flight, the shock of an unprecedented perspective, and the flawed storytelling of the camera.

Well before this series, Friedman was exploring photography’s relationship to time, the ways in which the still image always refers to key moments before and after the act of documentation. Then, in 2005, Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans and the Gulf Coast. Friedman’s work took a new direction; in photographs and installations, she began to consider the relations between natural forces and human experience, between atmosphere and emotion.

In 2010, the artist collaborated with a pair of engineers (Justin Hamel and Chris Thompson) to take a series of photographs from 90,000 to100,000 feet above the earth. High-altitude balloons carried automated digital cameras into the thin air and freezing temperatures of the stratosphere. The balloons ascended in uncontrolled flight, at the mercy of wind speed and air pressure, gently rocking or violently spinning depending on atmospheric conditions. The cameras recorded it all, including the moments after one balloon burst and gravity violently reasserted its claim on matter.

The photographs, selected and arranged into ordered representations of time, offer glimpses into the contingent relationships between objects and the elemental forces that determine their trajectories. These images refuse the iconic blue-marble image of Earth as a timeless, untouchable sphere and present instead a fragmented, dynamic view of the planet as a site of contained chaos.

Printer’s Devil Review is an independent, journal of literary and visual art. We provide emerging writers and artists with access to publication and inquisitive readers with new voices and visions.

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Volume 2, Number 1 (Spring 2012)

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