HOW TO CATCH COSMIC RAYS AT HOME
Derivada es un Proyecto de Fundación Banco Santander que nace para visibilizar la importancia de la mujer dentro de la esfera artística apoyando a artistas españolas de media carrera con trabajos influidos por teorías científicas.
La artista elegida para la segunda edición, Linarejos Moreno, traslada un experimento de visualización de rayos cósmicos del ámbito público –el laboratorio institucional– al ámbito privado. Los objetos domésticos añaden tanta fuerza poética y sentido del humor al experimento como falta de legitimización y rigor científico, cuestionando así las relaciones entre ciencia, mujer, trabajo, espacio y valor dentro de la sociedad contemporánea.
THE DANGER OF HOME LABORATORIES
ESTRELLA DE DIEGO
In the late 1930s, the American photographer Berenice Abbott wrote a brief note in which she spoke of the urgent need to devise new strategies for scientific photography. Her vision called for a type of photograph that respected the rigour of science but also had a certain appeal for the general public. This revolutionary idea required, as Abbott specified, the union of artists and documentary photographers, the same which ultimately produced the incredibly beautiful and enigmatic set of photos she took for MIT, halfway between precise lab photographs and surprising experimental film stills. Few women have established such an intense relationship with science and its strategies of representation. Or perhaps the opposite is true.
There may be far more women in science than we think, women who have been erased from history and tucked away in beacon towers set back from the shore. And perhaps they were excluded from the official narrative because, deep down, so many knew the dangers of home laboratories: those spaces that women have improvised since time immemorial with their experiments on the fringes and in the interstices, in any corner of their own physical or metaphysical room. Indeed, there is a history of women’s relationships with science waiting to be written, despite the erasures and lack of recognition, a history of the things they could perceive better than anyone—things that were there but which the established discourse was unable to see and, above all, to retrieve and reinstate.
Like Abbott—who once claimed, “I’m not a nice girl. I’m a photographer… I go anywhere”—Linarejos Moreno is a bad girl who set up a secret laboratory in her own kitchen some time ago. In that imaginary kitchen, she has assembled a series of odd pieces to form an obstinate puzzle: ghostly iron remnants, everyday objects, images torn out of scientific journals, accounting papers from the family business of her childhood, the railway materials factory that the women of the family glimpsed out of the corner of their eyes… Later, when the old factory closed, in the midst of that abandoned scenario, Linarejos Moreno found a strange path back to a house that memory recognises as its own, to the extent that it begins with what could be seen through the peephole, like so many other things from which women have been excluded.
There, in that interval, she has rewritten her history—which is also the history of others like her—through images that are quite ordinary and fairly mutinous,
occupying those spheres of production usually considered off-limits to women: the factory and the laboratory.
The reflections of a science camouflaged amid aesthetic values—in a way, the same idea that underpins Abbott’s visual proposal—were already implicit in Cámara de niebla [The Cloud Chamber], Linarejos Moreno’s previous work, named after an early 20th-century scientific invention. That piece made visible the beauty of the invisible, fog droplets that sketched a firmament of sensations: unexpected poetic forms for the eye sharp enough to detect them, which the mainstream discourse has refused to dust off among the shelves of science.
Linarejos Moreno plays at occupying paradoxes, as women often do when they turn their own rooms into spaces for riot and revolt. Paradoxes of art and science, glass and iron, beauty and precision, rescue and wreckage, objective and autobiographical… Conventional discourses have been disrupted, leaving only the subversion which, as a memory resurrected on the family accounting papers, reveals new interpretations of debit and credit. This is the danger of home laboratories certified in Derivada.