“It was recently discovered that the human eye can detect as little as a single photon of light — the smallest quantity of light. It’s dif cult to contextualize just how little light energy a photon contains – but imagine something like 3,800,000,000,000,000 times less bright then a candle ame. A signal that is measurably real, but existing on the outer reaches of our sensory perception of the world.
With this expanded understanding about our body’s capacities to see — around this same moment scientists also began cataloging an astonishing array of distant stars, some millions of light years away, that incredibly have planets orbiting them we believe might also harbor earth-like life.
These two simultaneous discoveries — both involving our perception of light, very much guided my thinking while making the exhibition. If one can perceive a photon, the photon’s effects on us must be real. So as light reaches me from our sun, it does also from every star we can see — a real, and somehow noticeable quantity of their energy entering my retina, entering my body, at the edge of perception, registering in some mammalian recess of the brain, communicating some part of its reality, perhaps changing me in some small but signi cant way.“
Michael Jones McKean, summer 2017