Live from the Moon
30 April - 25 May 2019
Curated by Geoffrey Batchen, Professor of Art History at Victoria University of Wellington
Live from the Moon comprises a selection of gelatin silver photographs sent out as press prints by NASA in the 1960s and ‘70s to publicise the American agency’s efforts to land men on the moon. These images were sometimes shot with video cameras and automatically transmitted to Earth as radio signals from spacecraft. They were then reconstituted by computers in the form of photographs and distributed to the press via the electric telegraph. On other occasions, photographs would be taken of images seen on television monitors while these were being broadcast to Earth in real time. More rarely, the photographs were taken with hand-held cameras by astronauts from the windows of their space capsules. However they were produced, the resulting photographs are often strange to look at, hovering between abstractions and documents, and requiring extensive captions to explain their otherwise puzzling appearance. Tracing a history of human efforts to venture into space, these photographs also offer an important staging point in the development of digital imaging and therefore in the history of photography itself.