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This project was successfully funded on July 29, 2012

Double Blind Studies

by Christina McPhee


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Double Blind Studies is a suite of gelatin silver print photographs created from abstract drawings. Following the scientific 'double blind study', I put drawings into a testing space of photography. A double negative, a bilateral symmetry, a  photogram like effect-- reveal something the drawing was blind to, before it was transformed into a print. The site of drawing appears like a laboratory slide under a microscope, or a scene of pinned specimens on the wall. The photographs  account for the mechanical shoot in a literal way-- push pins are visible, drips of old paint on the wall behind.  But the photographs deliver ambiguity.


If the procedure is modernist, to search for  essence, the deep ground of life, the results are speculative. Just-the-facts yields to primitive science. The air is dense with texture like chalk dust on a blackboard. An approach to life.

I often work in remote sites where the drawing impulse translates to video and photography. I work in sites where traumatic events heighten the clash of biological realities with technology, and then make films, drawings, and photographs from the encounter. Recently I shot video for six days on board a marine biology research voyage in the Gulf of Mexico, after the BP oil spill. Profuse crustaceans and rarely-seen bioluminescent fish came up at night from great depths, into the blinding white light on board ship.

Double Blind Studies emerged from my 'chromaglyph' series of drawings I explored singular, biological life forms as a glyph or pictogram-like form sequence.  I found that when I double the glyph drawings as ‘double blind’ images, they take on the qualities of portraits of strange life forms like deep-water marine species. The deep-sea marine life is a hidden alphabet.  We can’t read it very easily.  The double blind motif is both a method of discovery and a metanym for the amazing extent of what we can't see...and what lives in imagination.

Please help me fund the production of the gelatin silver prints with Griffin Editions in Brooklyn, New York. My digital files are printed in their LE process, yielding archival black and white prints on fibre paper with a soft, radiant surface. The project is intended for exhibitions in alternative and museum spaces, possibly in connection with art/science and drawing emphases.  I will complete the printing process by October 2012. ‘Double Blind Studies” with the related moving image work will be released for exhibition from January 2013 onwards.

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    • July 16, 2012 Pamela Z Artist

      Congratulations on making your goal! <3, PZ

    • June 27, 2012 Pamela Z Artist

      This is such beautiful work, X-ina! And I love the video work that follows your description of the photographs!