Surfing the Cosmos: Energy and Environment (Hardcover)
Surfing the Cosmos is an original book of photographs and text that visually explores the high/low of energy in the slums of Rio de Janeiro as compared with the high-tech physics of CERN, where discovering the origins of the universe and the elementary particles from which it is made are examined. Within this visual story are the unplanned beautiful drawings that humans make in space with electrical wires, whether from the favela or CERN. These "drawings" inspired a series of artworks/photographs that are pictured in this book, often along with their photographic source or the spirit of the community from which they are derived (either favela or CERN). The human energy of the favela is also mirrored in CERN with one specific comparison of the graffiti from Rio and the chalkboards of CERN, both viewed as works of art and sources that motivated the author's response as demonstrated in his previous works through examples including paintings, fashion scarves, handmade rugs from Nepal, bamboo cotton face masks along with surfboards (chalkboards) and skatedecks.
New York Artist Steve Miller has explored scientific concepts and experimented with new technologies in his photographic work since the 1970s. He is interested in our relationship to the planet and to each other. In his latest body of work, Surfing the Cosmos, he visually examines the continuum of our energy consumption. This is the third in his trio of books on subjects of humans and their relationship to the environment, to one another, and energy consumption: who consumes it, and how. He is the author of two other books on these themes, Radiographic and Surf/Skate. On a trip to Brazil, he became captivated by the tangled web of power lines in Rocinha, Rio de Janeiro, the largest shantytown in the country. Lacking access to basic services, residents there appropriated electricity by tapping into overhead cables, risking electrocution in the process. He photographed the wires and he incorporates those images into his prints and paintings. He thinks of the wires as "human drawings in three dimensions in space, based on our urgent need for resources." Chaotic and beautiful, these networks of wires look as energetic as the power that flows through them. Miller has lectured at CERN in Geneva, Switzerland, the largest particle physics laboratory in the world. In some of his works, and he incorporates the mathematical equations and diagrams sketched out on chalkboards by theoretical physics there.Miller is recognized as an early pioneer of the "sciart" (science-based art) movement. In 2013, and 2017 the National Academy of Science mounted exhibitions of his work, each of which explores aspects of the deforestation of the Amazon and the impact on the fauna living there. The Wired and CERN work presented here evolved from those two earlier bodies of work. Follow Steve Miller on Instagram @stevemillerdotcom and visit stevemiller.com and stevemiller.art.