Mars: Adrift on the Hourglass Sea: new work by Kahn & Selesnick

Also on view: Speed is Cinema: photographs by Peter Mattei and work by Elliott Kaufman and Robert Flynt

opening reception: Saturday, July 9 from 6 - 8pm

July 7, 2011 through August 8, 2011


Carrie Haddad Photographs is pleased to present Mars: Adrift on an Hourglass Sea, new work by Kahn & Selesnick. Also on exhibit will be a series of photographs by Peter Mattei titled Speed is Cinema. The exhibit runs from July 7, 2011 through August 7, 2011. There will be a reception for the artists on Saturday, July 9 from 6-8pm. All are invited to attend. An artist talk with Kahn & Selesnick will be held on Saturday, July 30th at 7:30pm. This event is free and open to the public.

Mars: Adrift on the Hourglass Sea is Kahn and Selesnick’s first project to feature a female protagonist; a woman finds herself alone in a wasteland that appears to be Mars. It is uncertain how she arrived in this place, via spacecraft, through a fold in the space time continuum or perhaps the landscape is a mental projection. Either way, it is clear that she has escaped an unnamed catastrophe on Earth. In a series of hallucinatory episodes she simultaneously explores the planet and builds a mock-life for herself from a combination of high tech and stone-age materials. Mars is revealed to have ruined artifacts and monuments from a previous, or perhaps future, civilization.


As the artists take us on a fantastical journey through the landscape of our neighboring planet, poignant issues of technology, economic and societal collapse, environmental disaster and existential philosophy are explored.

The hematite rock clusters that appear on the surface of Mars are also found, almost identically, in the deserts of Utah, a location used by Kahn & Selesnick for this project. Integrating actual photo-mosaics of Martian landscape captured by NASA space rovers, with their distinctive brand of sci-fi mysticism and art historical contexts, the artists offer a salient version of what constitutes the contemporary sublime landscape.

 All speed Illuminates. -Paul Virilio (cultural theorist, science and technology writer)

Artist Peter Mattei is motivated by his belief that, “as technology gets more sophisticated and more automated it gets harder to find the places where it fails; but it's along these edges that a random and unintended beauty can sometimes be found.”

Mattei’s Speed Is Cinema photograph series was created with an inexpensive Canon Elf digital camera running at its default automatic settings while moving at high speeds (in cars or trains) and often in low-light situations making it difficult for the technology to do what it has been programmed to do: take a crisp, clean, in-focus, properly-exposed shot.  The result, for Mattei, is a moment of possible salvation: “no matter how hard our machines try to make us obsolete, and tell us what and how we should look at the world, we might yet be able to trick them into giving us something they'd rather not, something unexpectedly romantic and abstractly beautiful.”


Mattei’s process both takes advantage of and subverts the nature of digital photography. The ability to take thousands of shots allows chance to make many of his preliminary decisions. The artist then finds those chance moments worthy of pursuing towards a final, exacting process of printing and mounting: an inverse of the chance and multiplicity afforded by digital technology.

Artists in this show

Kahn & Selesnick

Cave 2, 2010

Cistern, 2010

Herm, 2010

Airmaker, 2010

Concrete Ear 6, 2010

Journey to Erebus Montes, 2010

Floating Factory, 2010

Earthrise, 2010

The Blue Scorpion, 2010

Elliott Kaufman

Hudson River 10c x 210, 2010

Hudson River 10_2x81, 2010

Robert Flynt

untitled (CWJI; map 15) , 2011

untitled (AK; 3), 2011

untitled (NSCL; moral trend), 2010

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