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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.

In their photography series Ground Truth, Julie Anand and Damon Sauer investigate our relationship to the vast networks of information encircling the globe by photographing what remains of the Corona project. This surveillance initiative began in the mid-1960s by the CIA and US Air Force and involved using satellites to take aerial photographs of the Soviet Union and China. The cameras on these satellites were calibrated with concrete crosses on the ground that are 60 feet in diameter, which provided a reference for scale and ensured images were in focus.

Approximately 256 of these markers were placed on a 16-square-mile grid in Arizona, spaced a mile apart. Long after Corona’s end and its declassification in 1995, around 100 remain, which Anand and Sauer spent three years photographing. In their images, each concrete cross is overpowered by an expansive sky, onto which the artists map the paths of specific 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.”

Julie Anand and Damon Sauer are artists and educators based in Phoenix, Arizona. They use an interdisciplinary approach to lens-based media to interrogate boundaries and explore the body as a site of perception. Julie Anand is currently Associate Professor in the School of Art at Arizona State University and Damon 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.

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