Artist's Statement

Barbara Diener

Archival inkjet prints. Exhibition print sizes range from 23 x 32 to 41 x 62 in. and are carefully considered for each installation.

The Rocket's Red Glare traces the footsteps of two instrumental rocket scientists. Teenagers in the 1920s, a time in which rocket science and space exploration were confined to science fiction novels, Wernher von Braun in Germany and Jack Parsons in Pasadena, CA were part of their respective rocket clubs. They talked on the phone for hours about their home-grown explosions and rocket fuel tests. One went on to develop the V2 rocket for Hitler and then the Saturn V for NASA. The other made groundbreaking contributions to the development of rocket fuel but was also second in command of Aleister Crowley’s occult religion, Ordo Templi Orientis, and was written out of NASA’s history for decades.

Weaving together a sense of these two complicated stories, I photographed places of significance and appropriated archival material. Rather than presenting a complete view of this history, I am posing questions, looking at the way that history is passed on through generations, and facts are distorted, embellished, or undermined.