Shroud: Swimmer

Still from laser installation.
H 20' W 40' D 30'
11. 14. 06
Seattle, WA


Shroud: Swimmer is a new portrait series on photographer and friend Lara Swimmer. Lara moves in and out of the laser plane, during a time-exposed photo.

Project Description

As part of the Laser Project Series, which began in 2001 with a residency at the Bellevue Art Museum in collaboration with optical engineer Ed Mannery, these installations use laser and custom designed optics to create thin, luminous planes of light that people can see and physically traverse. Objects intersecting this plane reveal the surface-like property of the luminous plane; like a sheet of glass that molds against hard media. Light and body can also be seen as another pair of media, like a Shroud as in the Sacred Shroud of Turin, where the image of a body is imprinted on a cloth. In this new light-shroud, the body appears as a luminous dynamic mold which becomes visible by means of a camera recording the stages of the passage of a person walking through the plane. These images are otherwise invisible to our naked eye.

With respect to the laser project, our conventional three-dimensional perception is simplified into a kind of "Flatland" as in the world of Edwin Abbot's famous 1884 novel. The shroud-like image extends the central metaphor of flatland when it is observed through the laser plane: a two-dimensional luminous analogue populated by ghostly images in transitional luminescence. "Just as Flatlanders did not see or travel through the third dimension" says physicist Lisa Randal in her book warped passages, "even though it existed in Abbott's story, our not having seen another dimension does not mean there is none." Light itself, normally unseen and unnoticed in the material world, becomes literally three-dimensional.

Two weeks after taking these pictures, Lara gave birth to a beautiful and healthy girl: Avery Dorian Zimmer. Iole and Lara wish to thank Eric Frederickson for letting the photograph be at Western Bridge Gallery.

  • Ed Mannery
  • Eric Frederickson