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Ground Truth: Corona Landmarks

An Exhibition by Julie Anand and Damon Sauer

September 24, 2018 - February 22, 2019

NAS Building, 2101 Constitution Ave., N.W.

Free. Photo ID required.

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In this series of photographs of what remains of the Corona project, Julie Anand and Damon Sauer investigate our relationship to the vast networks of information that encircle the globe. The Corona project was a CIA and U.S. Air Force surveillance initiative that began in the 1960s and ended in 1972. It involved using cameras on satellites to take aerial photographs of the Soviet Union and China. The cameras were calibrated with concrete targets on the ground that are 60 feet in diameter, which provided a reference for scale and ensured images were in focus.

Approximately 273 of these concrete targets were placed on a 16-square-mile grid in the Arizona desert, spaced a mile apart. Long after Corona’s end and its declassification in 1995, around 180 remain, and Anand and Sauer have spent three years photographing them as part of an ongoing project. In their images, each concrete target is overpowered by an expansive sky, onto which the artists map the paths of orbiting satellites present at the moment each photograph was taken. For Anand and Sauer, “these markers of space have become markers of time, representing a poignant moment in geopolitical and technologic social history.” This exhibition featured six large photographs and a grid of 14 smaller works from the series. Also on view will be an interactive map of the targets Anand and Sauer have photographed to date and a video detailing their process.

Julie Anand and Damon Sauer are artists and educators based in Phoenix, Arizona. Anand is currently Associate Professor in the School of Art at Arizona State University and Sauer serves as an Assistant Professor at the Art Institute of Pittsburgh—Online Division. Both received their MFA degrees in Photography from the University of New Mexico and began collaborating with each other in 2005. Ground Truth: Corona Landmarks was recently featured in Hyperallergic, Wired magazine and Politiken, a print newspaper in Denmark. Works from the series are in the collections of the Michener Art Museum and the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.

Watch a short video about the exhibition.

Visit the artists' website.


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