“Two Telescopic Views of the Moon”

In “Two Telescopic Views of the Moon” Diane LeBlanc combines images and text from Denison Olmsted’s Letters on Astronomy, Addressed to a Lady: In Which the Elements of the Science Are Familiarly Explained in Connexion With Its Literary History (1840). Please click here to read.

About the process of creation and composition, Diane LeBlanc writes:

I’m attracted to old astronomy books that situate science within history, literature, religion, and other ways of knowing. I was particularly drawn to images and text in Letter XV, “The Moon,” in Letters on Astronomy, Addressed to a Lady. Olmsted describes mid-19th century telescopic views of the moon’s surface while asking questions about water and the viability of life forms on the moon that scientists with more sophisticated tools are still working to answer.

I used images and text from Letter XV to create my own interpretation of literal and cultural telescopic views of the moon. To create the first view, I started with an image of the moon, half-lit by the sun’s reflection, that offered a dark field on which to impose an erasure of Olmsted’s letter. The second view features an image of the full moon mapped with craters and seas. I envisioned a more complex geography mapped with ideas about land and water. Although I redacted Olmsted’s language, the words are unaltered and taken in chronological order from Letter XV.


Also by Diane LeBlanc at Heron Tree: “How to Keep from Keeping.”