Regine Petersen

Find A Falling Star

A meteorite bears witness to the first formation of matter in our solar system. It has remained more or less unaltered since its birth several billion years ago, keeping the memory of the genesis of our environment under its surface. We are confronted with existential questions: What is the world made of? How did it evolve? How do life and complexity happen?

As a worldless and indifferent object, the meteorite also serves as a canvas for our projective desires, phantasies and fears. Its random appearance, regardless of time and place, often helps preserve a fragment of the past, offering a perspective on our history and culture:

The Thunderstone of Ensisheim, which fell in France in 1492, was chained to the wall of the local church. In 1950’s Alabama, a meteorite struck a woman resting on her couch, inducing a storm of publicity she wasn’t emotionally prepared for. And not far back in 1992, inhabitants of Mbale, Uganda, were eating the fragments of a meteorite shower, as they believed them to be a divine cure for Aids.

The fascination for these sculptural time capsules has taken me on a journey. The photographs, or Thought Images, are marking my map from the locations of the falls and finds, the houses, deserts and fields, into the personal lives of eye witnesses and descendants. Rather than a reconstruction of the events, my work is a collection of traces, an investigation into the workings of time, memory and history and an attempt to create a link between the ordinary and the sublime.

The residency at B2 has made it possible for me to work on an exhibit at the Michael Drake building at UA with Dante Lauretta, Principal Investigator of NASA's asteroid sample return mission OSIRIS-REx, and Marvin Killgore from the Southwest Meteorite Center. The work is accompanying the meteorite collection display and the development and launch of the space probe to asteroid 1999 RQ36.

Regine Petersen was born in Hamburg, Germany in 1976. She received her MA in Photography at the Royal College of Art in London in 2009. Exhibitions of her photographs include the House of Photography in Hamburg, Museum Folkwang in Essen, James Hyman Gallery in London and Aperture Gallery in New York. She is a recipient of the National Media Museum Bursary, the Arts Council Hamburg Stipend and a finalist of Saatchi New Sensations 2009. A new chapter of her ongoing work Find a Falling Star entitled Stars fell on Alabama will be presented in a solo show at this year's Rencontres Festival in Arles, FR. The journey to an enchanted place called Sylacauga, where a meteorite struck a human being in 1954, is nominated for the Prix Découverte 2012.