Sarah Hearn


An Unnatural History is an installation that inhabits the space between the continuously shifting realms of science, pseudoscience and science fiction. This project documents the (fictional) discovery of a taxonomy of marine life containing and cooperating with the elements from the periodic table. As science and technology progress, we are constantly faced with redefining, reinterpreting and reconfiguring what we thought we knew about the world around us and previous scientific "facts" are revealed to have been constructed "beliefs." Using multiple modes of representation, An Unnatural History draws attention to the real, the imagined and what it means to visualize biological life and phenomena that are often invisible to us at first glance. You are invited to join the Institute of Aquatic Research, as together we make unbelievable discoveries deep within the oceans, collect empirical data and struggle to organize, classify and determine the meaning of our findings and our place within this system. It is my hope that this experience cracks the hard shell of certainty and if only for a moment, suspends you in a state of wonder and disbelief. The power of imagination should not be ignored. It is what gave life to this idea that lay dormant with possibility and power.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Installations (Art)--Themes, motives; Science in art; Marine biology--Pictorial works

Publication Date


Document Type


Department, Program, or Center

School of Photographic Arts and Sciences (CIAS)


Bell, Roberley

Advisor/Committee Member

Miokovic, Alex

Advisor/Committee Member

Shackelford, Laura


Note: imported from RIT’s Digital Media Library running on DSpace to RIT Scholar Works. Physical copy available through RIT's The Wallace Library at: N6494.I56 H43 2011


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