“The Kepler Mission, NASA Discovery mission #10, is specifically designed to survey a portion of our region of the Milky Way galaxy to discover dozens of Earth-size planets in or near the habitable zone and determine how many of the billions of stars in our galaxy have such planets.” — NASA
Otherworld uses photographs taken in the upper Midwest to render possible models of the Earth-like planets currently being sought by NASA’s Kepler mission, and it also references the mythologies of many cultures that establish a land that is home to spiritual beings or the dead. These mythical other worlds of hope or doom often share characteristics with our familiar earthly landscapes, and I am using photographs of real places to suggest realms that may or may not exist. My preliminary images use barren terrains to suggest the earthlike landscapes photographed by rovers and other missions in space. As an immigrant, the landscapes of the upper Midwest continue to surprise me. This adds a personal layer to my depictions of territories that appear familiar yet remain unknowable.
Otherworld is informed by an earlier project, DARK MATTER, which I made in conjunction with the Jerome Foundation and the Minnesota Center for Book Arts. Where DARK MATTER focused on a specific site, Otherworld will be more of a fanciful musing on our curiosity. We send missions deep into space to search for evidence of other possible worlds, and we create mythological homes for our gods and our dead. How can I depict the geography of our desire? I use this world to create models of others, exploiting the dark tones to create barriers for understanding, always holding something back.
Keith Taylor is a fiscal year 2019 recipient of an Artist Initiative grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board. This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund.