Casey Kaplan

Artist News

Black Drop, 2012.
Production still of a drawing from Jules
Janssen’s sketchbook depicting the
black-drop effect. observed during the 1874 transit of Venus.
35mm film transferred to HD, 25 min.

SIMON STARLING IN MODERN PAINTERS, SEPTEMBER 2012

Simon Starling

The story behind an artwork, in the artist’s own words.

THE ENTHUSIASTIC ATTEMPTS in 1874 and 1882 to use observations of the transit of Venus to refine the measurement of the mean sun-Earth distance, the socalled “astronomical unit,” are perhaps best known for their failings. What is less well known is that cinema is, in large part, the illegitimate child of those 19th-century scientific exertions…