messiah

Messiah, 1987/1990

Ellen Sandor & (art)n: Randy Johnson, Jim Zanzi, and Stephan Meyers

Dan Sandin and Tom DeFanti, Electronic Visualization Lab, School of Art and Design, University of Illinois at Chicago

Special thanks to Dr. Roberta Glick, Kevin Magginis and Lisa Stone

Vintage PHSColograms: darkroom and computer interleaved Crosfield Cibachrome and Kodalith films, all mounted on plexiglas

96 x 60 inches overall with (6) 24 x 20 inches panels

"High Technology and social awareness meld successfully in (art)n's beautiful but awesome stealth negative constructions. Vibrant Purples and blues radiate from their cross-shaped sculpture Messiah. Hands, faces, and symbols take on the three-dimensional depth found in laser imagery. The unusual presence of this piece is seductive. However, the power-packed punch of this work strikes once the viewer learns that the abstract shapes are micro-images of the actual AIDS virus. The same impact is produced by Papilloma Virus, Third Edition."  

- Elaine A. King, Boundaries, Ideas and Invention: New Generations

We knew we wanted to use colorized CAT scans of an anonymous AIDS patient . . . When we received the CAT scans, we discovered that the patient was named Messiah. At that moment, we knew that the sculpture had to be in the shape of a crucifix. We decided to focus on hope, chance, and death as the sub-themes of the work. The face of death is cast in glass, the hand of hope is a piece of found folk art found from Wisconsin. The dice are animated, and the AIDS virus is a scientific visualization model based on information available in 1989.

 

chance

"A new work about the ravages and cultural consequences of AIDS, ... aesthetic equivalents of sophisticated war games that compute iteration after iteration of our plausible doom."

- PHSColograms: New Universes, New Aesthetic Focuses, Michel Segard

Chance, 1987 (detail)

Ellen Sandor & (art)n: Randy Johnson, Jim Zanzi, and Stephan Meyers

Dan Sandin, Electronic Visualization Lab, University of Illinois at Chicago

Special thanks to Dr. Roberta Glick, M.D.

PHSCologram: Chromalin, Kodalith and Plexiglas

24 x 20 inches

 

Hope, 1987 (detail)

Ellen Sandor & (art)n: Randy Johnson, Jim Zanzi, and Stephan Meyers

Dan Sandin, Electronic Visualization Lab, University of Illinois at Chicago

Special thanks to Dr. Roberta Glick, M.D.

PHSCologram: Chromalin, Kodalith and Plexiglas

24 x 20 inches

From Media to Metaphor: Art About AIDS, a traveling exhibition organized and circulated by ICI, Independent Curators Incorporated, New York, NY, made possible, in part, by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts and contributions from the ICI Exhibition Patrons Circle.

hope

"Sculptor Randy Johnson and Professor Jim Zanzi worked on PHSCologram metaphors called Hope, Chance, and Death. All of the pieces were assembled into a large-scale sculptural cross. Thanks to SAIC adjunct associate professor Lisa Stone, each PHSCologram of Messiah included the real patient’s CT scan in the background."

 

Death, 1987 (detail)

Ellen Sandor & (art)n: Randy Johnson, Jim Zanzi, and Stephan Meyers

Dan Sandin, Electronic Visualization Lab, University of Illinois at Chicago

Special thanks to Dr. Roberta Glick, M.D.

PHSCologram: Chromalin, Kodalith and Plexiglas

24 x 20 inches

death

aids virus, third edition

"The AIDS Virus is clearly the most talked about piece in our collection . . . while this country has the fourth highest concentration of HIV infection in the world, Zimbabweans are still generally reluctant to talk about the disease. The PHSCologram offers us a chance to discuss AIDS in an informal, less threatening way, but nonetheless important way. Zimbabweans are drawn to the technology that the piece evokes. Americans are stunned by the artistic feel, the vivid color and amazing shape of 'the disease’.” 

Anne Marie Macdonald, U.S. Department of State Art in Embassies Program, for exhibition in American Embassy: Ambassador McDonald, Harare, Zimbabwe 1998–2000

AIDS Virus, Third Edition, 1989 -90

Ellen Sandor & (art)n: Stephan Meyers and Craig Ahmer

Dan Sandin and Tom DeFanti, Electronic Visualization Lab, School of Art and Design, University of Illinois at Chicago

Special thanks to Kevin Maginnis & Dr. Roberta Glick

Virtual Photograph/PHSCologram: Cibachrome, Kodalth, Plexiglas

24 x 20 inches

The first computer generated image of the AIDS virus, based on information available in 1987. A colorized CT scan of a person who died of AIDS, named Messiah, was scanned and colorized in the background. The AIDS Virus is an icon of hope and human tragedy, a beacon of art and science, an expression of freedom and democracy, an instrument of healing and collaboration.

 

(art)n's rendering confronts us with a portrait of what the AIDS Virus looks like. At first glance, we do not identify the portrait as a deadly virus. It's a bright, colorful, lively abstraction–a beautiful stranger with it's own will to dazzle and destroy. The collaboration of beauty and destruction within this art work confound both viewers and the artists who created the piece. The AIDS Virus was created by the process of collaboration. It is a dynamic way of working where limits of combined artistic freedom are unknown, but internally democratized by the limits of the technology used to express collective ideas. Every artist who worked on the AIDS Virus contributed to the overall vision–aesthetically, conceptually, and technically, providing a rich collection of ideas and approaches to realizing them that may not emerge when working singularly. The result is a collective artistic statement about how freedom of expression challenges where artists draw the lines when they are working with others and working with new technology and unknowns.