serious anomaly


Format 1: 132 x 202 cm / 52 x 79.5 in, edition of 6 + 2 AP
Format 2: 67 x 102 cm / 26.3 x 40.2 in, edition of 6 + 2 AP
Hybrid photography, archival pigment print, aludibond, diasec, custom-made aluminium frame

On October 31, 2014, Virgin Galactic´s suborbital spaceplane SpaceShipTwo crashed during a test flight in the Mojave Desert, California. The spaceplane started out from the Mojave Air and Space Port, and after reaching an altitude of 10,000m, separated from the carrier mothership. Eleven seconds later, the spaceplane disintegrated with a loud bang. Co-pilot, Michael Alsbury, was killed in the crash while the pilot, Peter Siebold, was seriously injured.

The artwork "serious anomaly" is a depiction of failure, a fundamental part of human existence. The composition is a reinterpretation of Caspar David Friedrich´s iconic 1824 painting “Das Eismeer – Die gescheiterte Hoffnung” (The Sea of Ice – The Wreck of Hope), widely considered the supreme incarnation of the idea of human failure. The painting underscores the relationship between man and nature but also that of technology and nature; the ship crushed between the shards of ice is in fact an expeditionary ship on a mission to discover new trade routes.

The work is a digital composition based on an extensive number of photographs taken by photo journalists at the scene of the crash in the Mojave Desert, mirroring the composition of Caspar David Friedrich's painting. The expeditionary ship in Friedrich's painting is replaced by the seat of the pilot who survived the crash. The work questions the relationship between man and machine, and the pushing back of frontiers through technological innovation.


Personally liable:
Michael Najjar

Design concept & coding: Matthias Hübner,
with support by Marco Land

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