"Between 2021 and 2022, artist Lucy RAVEN created a series of more than sixty unique silver gelatin shadowgrams at an explosives range in New Mexico, often used as a test site by the US Department of Defense and private munition companies.
The series 'Socorro!', document the shockwaves of exploded raw materials on large format photosensitive paper and negative film. To achieve this, Lucy RAVEN built a room-sized black box that acted as a camera inside the ballistic sciences lab of the New Mexico Tech University. In it she fashioned a lighting mechanism that triggers a stroboscopic flash timed to the exact moment of detonation, precisely capturing the exploded materials as they travel at mach speed (a unit indicating the speed of sound, named after the Austrian physicist Ernst Mach).
These empirical experiments resulted in the subtly inflected abstractions that are collected in this artist’s book, 'Socorro!'. They bear a faint resemblance to the first visualisation of the shockwaves of a bullet, recorded in 1887 by Mach. But rather than pointing to the trajectory of a single bullet, Lucy RAVEN unleashes an array of different materials, each generating a series of interacting shocks and turbulent wakes. Her rendition is far more elusive and nebulous; the images appear to be haunted, imbued with the complicated histories of the region. In some instances, this violence is suggested by the force of the blast piercing the paper of the shadowgrams. But these markings also serve to reveal the physicality of the image as object, grounding it back into a solid form.