[ISEA2019] Artist Statement: Justin Harvey — SATURN RETURN

Artist Statement

HD video. dimensions variable.

SATURN RETURN is an infinite loop of shaped layers of digital video feedback created using an iPhone, television monitor and Wi-Fi network. The accompanying audio contains low frequency harmonics combining the three competing frequencies comprising the source video feedback loop – 60, 200 & 240 hertz.
In 1855, German chemist August Kekule had visions of the Ouroboros – symbol of the cyclical nature of time – awaking to understand the symmetrical structure of benzene, depicted as a circle enclosed by a hexagon. Benzene is a carcinogenic industrial solvent banned by Apple Inc. from use in the production of the iPhone in 2014, though it is still used in the construction of camera and screen components by subcontractors. In 1981, NASA’s Voyager missions discovered a hexagonal cloud formation on Saturn’s north pole, more recently monitored by the Cassini-Huygens mission in 2017. The color of the hexagon has changed over time and the cause of this phenomenon is still not understood.
SATURN RETURN is a meditation on the micro and macro forces that shape our lives, from the microsecond delays of wireless video transmission to the orbits of astronomical bodies that were the timekeepers of antiquity. The hexagon enclosing a circle references the smallest building blocks of DNA, the chemical composition of benzene, the second largest planet in our solar system and the basic structure of every snowflake that falls. The title refers to Saturn’s return to the same point in the sky it occupied when each of us was born. Astrologers maintain its occurrence signals major transitions in each person’s life as Saturn completes its 29-year orbit. The first return is said to mark the transition to adulthood, the second to maturity and the third into wise old age.

  • Justin Harvey is a Sydney, Australia, based artist working across moving image, sound, immersive installation and 360º virtual environments. His solo works present abstract expressions of interactions between artist and machine, exploring the unintended beauty in the breakdown of the digital moving image. Justin lecturers in Media Arts at the University of Technology, Sydney and is a PhD candidate at University of New South Wales, Art & Design. His practice-based research investigates ways in which artists using video feedback as a metaphor for human consciousness contribute to philosophical understandings of time. Justin has exhibited work in solo and curated exhibitions in Sydney, Chicago, Vancouver, Amsterdam and Hong Kong. justinharvey.art