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The Vintage Series:

SCIENTIFIC INQUIRIES

Photographs by JEAN MIELE 212.222.4808 www.jeanmiele.com


very world view contains the seeds of its own eventual dethroning, contradictions that will be explained only by the next, superseding world view. Today, it is post-modernism supplanting modernity – the dualism of Descartes, that pits industrialism against pastoralism, being replaced by a world view that accommodates and integrates opposites: of technology and art, mind and body, man and god, matter and energy, spirit and flesh. This is what we refer to as a “poetry science” - not the science of poetry, or poetry about science, but a poetical world view that positions modern, industrial, extractive science in the broader, undergirding context of cosmology, creativity, spirituality, and community. In modernity, the sub-atomic science of quantum mechanics is accepted to be counterintuitive, with “weird” behavior (such as matter springing into existence, or particles communicating instantly over great distance) accepted as normal. Likewise, at the cosmic level of the Universe as a whole, counterintuitive behavior such as the Big Bang or time dilation is accepted as the norm. Only at the human, Newtonian levels are we told that reality is linear, logical, predictable and mechanistic. We disagree. It is in a post-modern science that accommodates counterintuitive topics such as mind, psychosomatics, spirituality, ESP, the psychedelic experience, spontaneous remission, stigmata. It is in a “poetry science” that we can see that even at the human scale, reality is not Newtonian. This post-modern perspective on the human scale might be explained better by eastern philosophies of yoga science and Buddhism, philosophies more consistent with the perspectives of quantum mechanics and cosmology. This perspective is crucially important, not just for scientists and poets, researchers and clergy, clinicians and activists, but for all of us trying to protect ourselves and help the world forward. And this is an inevitable perspective: as the global information infrastructure continues to grow, the future belongs to the unified, transcendent whole, not to any one of divisive, combative opponents. Ultimately, the poetry science perspective becomes one of truth and freedom, versus blinders and decline - it’s our choice.

Neal M. Goldsmith, Ph.D. and Ed Rosenfeld Founders, “Poetry Science Talks” Salon New York City, 2001


TITLE COSMOLOGICAL ARGUMENT

CaptionUptatet adargument tet vel et is lobor sequat volorargument sequat, consequip ex esto eraessit The cosmological a metaphysical for the existence of God, or velfirst ea conummo dignim veliquam, consed minknown utat, quis eu“argument feugait nullaorperos a mover of the cosmos. It is traditionally as an from universal dio consed er verosfirst ex ero odolore feugait tionsenisci causation,” ansequatiniate “argument from cause,” andfeu also as an nullutpat, “uncausedqui cause” or blamet irit mover” il ullaorargument. am velisl ipsum doluptat. Duismod dolorting essenit, suscidu “unmoved The cosmological argument does not attempt to prove ismodol utpat. anything about the first cause or about God, except to argue that such a cause must exist. Sustie delese magna adio odit nulla feuisl dio odolutpate et in euguerat wis eugue sum dit nim quate feugiate vel dolortisit ad dolorper ing essectet lorperaese -ver Wikipedia commy nos nim quis dit ut ilit praessecte volent lor sed tet at, commod eugiam iusci euguerat accum adionullam eu facillam, quisl ipismod olesequam, sum nonsed doloborper aliquiscin utpatum init, sequi tio dolortin ut nonsecte dionsectet ing eum verit dolorper iusto commodo odip el et, quate ver sumsan eum volor ad te magna adipsumsan vero consent augue coreet ulputem vero core feum at. Duipisl ex ex exeros er ipsum quate dionsequat nisl ex esed enismod delisit augue et, commodolore faciduis elessis am eu feu faci exeros nostrud dolorperatie vendigniat.

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WHERE TIME STOPS TITLE “Life must be understood backwards. But with this, one forgets the second proposition, CaptionUptatet ad tet vel et lobor sequat volor sequat, consequip ex esto eraessit that it must be lived forwards. A proposition which, the more it is subjected to careful vel ea conummo dignim veliquam, consed min utat, quis eu feugait nullaorperos thought, the more it ends up concluding precisely that life at any given moment cannot dio consed er sequatiniate veros ex ero odolore feu feugait nullutpat, qui tionsenisci really ever be fully understood; exactly because there is no single moment where time blamet irit il ullaor am velisl ipsum doluptat. Duismod dolorting essenit, suscidu stops completely in order for me to take position [to do this]: going backwards.” ismodol utpat. -Sustie Søren Kierkegaard (1813-1855) delese magna adio odit nulla feuisl dio odolutpate et in euguerat wis eugue ver sum dit nim quate feugiate vel dolortisit ad dolorper ing essectet lorperaese commy nos nim quis dit ut ilit praessecte volent lor sed tet at, commod eugiam Einstein’s former mathadionullam professor came up with quisl the idea that looking at space-time as iusci euguerat accum eu facillam, ipismod olesequam, sum nonsed adoloborper 4th dimension allowed for the solution of problems involving numerous bodies in aliquiscin utpatum init, sequi tio dolortin ut nonsecte dionsectet ing eum respect to eachiusto othercommodo regardless of speed (even backwards time). “This verit dolorper odip el et, quate ver sumsanineum volor ad perfectly te magna clear, four-dimensional wayaugue of writing equations called ‘manifest adipsumsan vero consent coreet ulputemisvero core feum at.covariance.’” Duipisl ex ex exeros er ipsum quate dionsequat nisl ex esed enismod delisit augue et, commodolore -faciduis Ronald L. Mallett, “Time Traveler” elessis am eu feu faci exeros nostrud dolorperatie vendigniat.

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FOR FRANK HURLEY

Frank Hurley (1885-1962) was the photographer for Ernest Shackleton’s 1914-1917 Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition. In spite of extreme conditions and the challenges of glass-plate photography, his work is technically and aesthetically masterful – and a magnificent documentation of the expedition. When the expedition’s three-masted wooden sailing ship Endurance sank, crushed by ice in the Weddell Sea, it was the beginning of an epic odyssey of survival. Thanks to Shackleton’s exceptional leadership, his 28 man crew survived an epic 800 mile lifeboat journey, and months on the ice, before finally returning to civilization. Not a soul was lost. Before abandoning the shipwreck, the crew recovered as much as they could to ensure their survival; Hurley, in addition, dove into the icy water to save his photographs. Convinced Hurley would never abandon his work, and probably die trying to retrieve his photographs later, Shackleton made a command decision to allow Hurley to save only what he could carry, forcing the photographer to break and leave nearly 400 of the more than 500 glass-plate negatives he had made. In 1995 Google launched Google Moon, an online interactive map of the lunar surface. One of the Moon’s more prominent features, at the South Pole, is Shackleton Crater.

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TERRA INCOGNITA “It suddenly struck me that that tiny pea, pretty and blue, was the Earth. I put up my thumb and shut one eye, and my thumb blotted out the planet Earth. I didn’t feel like a giant. I felt very, very small.” - Neil Armstrong

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CELESTIAL NAVIGATION “In the very earliest maps, space is fluid, there are no regular mathematical principles that determine the location and sizes of places, and directionality in our modern sense is almost entirely absent. Sometimes the colonial, military, or commercial purpose of a map is immediately apparent in the map itself. But for every feature included on a map, dozens are left off. What individual mapmakers and societies find interesting, important, and worthy of study changes over time – and is influenced by myriad factors, including fashion, politics, social and economic currents. Most of the formal elements of cartography (scales, compasses, legends) reflect relatively modernist (post-15th century) and Western traditions. Many older maps seem to simply offer a record of landscapes and places in a rich visual presentation – a snapshot of a place many centuries before photography was invented.” - George Mason University, Center for History and New Media

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BRANCHES OF THE SAME TREE “All religions, arts and sciences are branches of the same tree.” - Albert Einstein (1879-1955)

“All the elements of the Earth except hydrogen and some helium have been cooked by a kind of stellar alchemy billions of years ago in stars, some of which are today inconspicuous white dwarfs on the other side of the Milky Way Galaxy. The nitrogen in our DNA, the calcium in our teeth, the iron in our blood, the carbon in our apple pies were made in the interiors of collapsing stars. We are made of starstuff.” - Carl Sagan, Ph.D. (1934 – 1996), Cosmos

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TWO ANTS IN A GARDEN ATTEMPTING TO CONVERSE ABOUT THE HISTORY OF FRANCE “On Incredulity: Many men are the victims of intellectual short-sightedness; and many... take their own horizon to be the boundary of the whole world… In their eyes the human race has always been what it is at the present moment… They do not know that behind any explanation we may give of the phenomena of nature there lies the great unknown… They are like two ants in a garden attempting to converse about the history of France, or [about] the distance of the earth from the sun.” - Camille Flammarion (1842-1925). “L’Inconnu” (The Unknown), 1900.

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FUNDAMENTAL LAWS ALTER “There is almost nothing right or wrong which does not alter with a change in clime. A shift of three degrees of latitude is enough to overthrow jurisprudence. One’s location on the meridian decides the truth, that or a change in territorial possession. Fundamental laws alter. What is right changes with the times. Strange justice that is bounded by a river or mountain! The truth on this side of the Pyrenees, error on the other.” - Blaise Pascal (1623–1662), “Pensées” 1670

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THE THREE KINDS OF NAVIGATION “Navigation consiseth of three parts, which being well understood and practiced, are Conclusions infallible, whereby the skilful pilote is void of all doubt to effect the thing purposed, Of which, the first is the Horizontal Navigation, which manifesteth all the varieties of the Ships motion within the Horizontle plain superficies, where every line drawn is supposed a parallel. The second is a Paradoral or Cosmographical Navigation, which demonstrateth the true motion of the ship upon any course assigned in longitude, latitude, and distance, either particular or general, and is the skilful gathering together of many Horizontal Corses, into one infallible and true motion Paraboral. The third is a great Circle Navigation, which teacheth bow upon a great Circle, drawn between any two places assigned (being the only shortest way between place and place) the Ship may be conducted and to performed by the skilful application of Horizontal and Paraboral Navigation.” - John Davis (1550? – 1605), “The Seamans Secrets - 1st part” 1594

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HC SUNT DRACONES According to folklore, ancient cartographers labeled unknown regions “Here Be Dragons.� Although some did claim that fantastic beasts existed in remote corners of the world and depicted such as decoration on their maps, only one known surviving map, the Lenox Globe, in the collection of the New York Public Library, actually contains the legendary Latin phrase.

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THE BLIND TRAVELER James Holman FRS (1786-1857) a.k.a. “the Blind Traveler” was a British naval officer, adventurer, physician, social observer, and author. Holman completely lost his sight in his twenties, forcing his retirement from naval service. In search of meaning in his life, and as a way of earning a living as a writer, he undertook a series of unprecedented solo world travels. Despite his adult-onset blindness and unexceptional foreign language skills, Holman traveled more extensively than anyone before or since – and he did it on foot, by sailing ship and by horse cart. Amazingly, until publication of Jason Roberts’ 2006 book, “A Sense of the World: How a Blind Man Became History’s Greatest Traveler,” he was almost entirely forgotten.

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THE HEART HAS ITS REASONS “The heart has reasons which reason knows nothing of.” - Blaise Pascal (1623–1662) French mathematician, physicist, and religious philosopher

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TITLE SMALL GIFTS CaptionUptatet ad tet vel et lobor sequat volor sequat, consequip ex esto eraessit vel ea conummo veliquam, consed min utat, quis eumysterious. feugait nullaorperos dio consed er “The most dignim beautiful thing we can experience is the sequatiniate veros ex ero odolore feu feugait nullutpat, It is the source of all true art and science.� qui tionsenisci blamet irit il ullaor am velisl ipsum doluptat. Duismod dolorting essenit, suscidu ismodol utpat. - Albert Einstein (1879-1955)

Sustie delese magna adio odit nulla feuisl dio odolutpate et in euguerat wis eugue ver sum dit nim quate feugiate vel dolortisit ad dolorper ing essectet lorperaese commy nos nim quis dit ut ilit praessecte volent lor sed tet at, commod eugiam iusci euguerat accum adionullam eu facillam, quisl ipismod olesequam, sum nonsed doloborper aliquiscin utpatum init, sequi tio dolortin ut nonsecte dionsectet ing eum verit dolorper iusto commodo odip el et, quate ver sumsan eum volor ad te magna adipsumsan vero consent augue coreet ulputem vero core feum at. Duipisl ex ex exeros er ipsum quate dionsequat nisl ex esed enismod delisit augue et, commodolore faciduis elessis am eu feu faci exeros nostrud dolorperatie vendigniat.

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PROJECTION “The concept of the microcosm mirroring the macrocosm has inherent within it two seemingly conflicting representations of order: I notice that all of my photographs simultaneously express both my quixotic struggle to impose order on an imperfect world – and the hopeful expression of the god-given perfection in each of us. Dark and Light.” - Jean Miele

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Every philosopher, naturalist, alchemist, mystic, scientist or explorer who ever risked ridicule or heresy, or dreamed their name would grace some far-flung spot on a map, was driven by two simple questions:

“WHO AM I?” “What’s out there?”

Scientific Inquiries explores the idea that science, mysticism, theology, cartography, cosmology and photography are intertwined disciplines, and that all arise from the fundamental human need to ask: “Who are we, and what is our place in the universe?” Each hand-embossed photomontage in this series melds my own photographs with historical artifacts: ancient manuscripts, maps, star charts, ship’s logs, NASA photographs, and 19th century glass plates. This work explores the question of who we are, historically, spiritually, and perceptually: Do we create our own reality? Does magic exist? Is “truth” a matter of perception? To that end, the deliberately small scale of these images, deceptively ambiguous navigational aids, and barely legible text reflect the way answers to the questions that are most important to us are always just slightly beyond our grasp. No matter how advanced the methods or technology we bring to bear, “facts,” scientific and otherwise, inevitably change. This series peers backwards and forwards through time. It gratefully acknowledges the debt we owe to the individual genius and collective persistence of a thousand generations of philosophers, scientists, alchemists, mathematicians, and poets. It also reminds us that “Who am I?” and “What’s out there?” are eternal questions. Transcendence rules. What we know – and what we think is possible – has no zenith, but is part of a seamlessly evolving continuum.

– Jean Miele January 2010


“The Vintage Series: Scientific Inquiries” was first exhibited in January 2010 at the Sol Mednick Gallery at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia.

Shadowbox-framed to highlight the hand-embossing around each image and rounded print-corners, prints also feature a 19th-century-style studio stamp on the verso, along with the edition number and artist’s signature. Limited to an edition of 25 prints, these 8x10” images on 16x20” paper are exhibition-ready, including wall-text and captions for each image.


jean miele - SELECTED Exhibitions:

The Vintage Series: Scientific Inquiries. Sol Mednick Gallery at UArts. Philadelphia, PA 2010 Vestiges Of Industry. Fotografiens Hus Gallery. Oslo, Norway 2009 Seeing Is Believing. Fotografiens Hus Gallery. Oslo, Norway 2007 Divergent Landscapes. Photo London at the Royal Academy of Arts’ Burlington Gardens 2006 Classical Landscape Photography & The Digital Darkroom. Vågå Fotografiakademiet, Norway 2003 Classical Landscape Photography & The Digital Darkroom. Fernbank Museum, Atlanta, GA 2002 Portals. Soho Photo Gallery, New York City 2002 Tuscany. Soho Photo Gallery, New York City 2001 Portals. Uma Gallery, New York City 2001 Water, Rocks, And Other Signs Of Mystical Life. Soho Photo Gallery, New York City 2000 Trees: Landscapes Of The Mind. Soho Photo Gallery, New York City 1999

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ABOUT THE “VINTAGE SERIES: SCIENTIFIC INQUIRIES” A “Wonderful show!” said Stephen Perloff, the Editor of the Photo Review, who saw the exhibition at the Sol Mednick Gallery at the University of the Arts.

“Scientific Inquiries” has also been acknowledged by the Houston Center for Photography, in visual sociologist Tracy Xavia Karner’s article: “Photographic Knowing. Engaging Perspectives through Photography,” published in HCP’s journal/magazine, SPOT.


For more information:

JEAN•MIELE 212-222-4808 w w w. j ea nm iel e. com mail@jeanmiele.com

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About the Artist

Jean Miele is an American artist who uses photography to explore the borderlands between fiction and reality. Miele’s personal interest in perception, spirituality and mysticism have inspired and informed his artwork since the mid-1980s. Although recognized for his digital work, Miele’s photographic background is firmly rooted in the traditional “wet” darkroom. Miele’s work fuses 19th & 20th century ideals with 21st century techniques and materials to create strong, quiet images, intended to remind us that moments of perfection are possible – in photography, and in our lives.

Original prints of Miele’s images have been exhibited internationally and acquired by collectors worldwide. Miele’s solo exhibition “Classical Landscape Photography and the Digital Darkroom” at the Fernbank Museum in Atlanta, Georgia was seen by more than 100,000 visitors. Miele’s 2007 “Seeing Is Believing” black-and-white landscape exhibition was the first solo show by an American artist at Oslo’s “Fotografiens Hus” gallery. Based in New York City, Miele’s work encompasses exhibitions, commissioned work for clients, and a busy teaching schedule. He lives with his wife Carol and daughter Cally, and he travels often, continually adding images to several ongoing bodies of work.

Entire contents copyright © Jean Miele 2010. No reproduction in whole or part is permitted without the written consent of author.


V4_3/10

The Vintage Series: SCIENTIFIC INQUIRIES  

Scientific Inquiries was envisioned from the beginning as more than a portfolio of photographs. This Exhibition Catalog presents the work as...

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