In our video series Hot Off The Press, we have conversations with gallery artists about their work. In this week's episode, Tim Campos talks with Michael Koerner about his new seres "Kami." Koerner’s work explores his family history and genetics through small tintypes, using photographic chemistry to assimilate the bursts and biochemical fallout from the atom bomb.
"It's all based on my personal genetics, as a son of a survivor of the Nagasaki atomic bomb blast during WWII and all the medical and health issues that surround that. A lot of genetics, a lot of exploration of health and spirituality goes into these tintypes. It's drawing on my background--I have a Ph.D. in Chemistry. I teach pharmaceutical sciences and medicinal chemistry at the University of Illinois and science is part of who I am. I'm using science to do chemistry on a photosensitized plate from the 1860s."
Koerner further explains his process: "There is process I go through and it involves going through the literature of the 1860s, and pulling out little nuggets of what they tried to avoid--all of the mistakes they made on those tintypes. I love those mistakes--I don't want the bread, I want the crust. I want the anomalies."