The images lining the walls of a 1,100 square foot gallery at the Penn Museum are not easily recognizable. In one, the bands of glass marked with bright red imperfections appear to glow with spectral light against a blue background. Another appears to display a postmodern gray sculpture of organic shapes with ridges and swirls. A third, one of the few that is geometrically regular, shows layers of intertwined rope, its strands haphazardly wrapped with stained and stitched metal.
The photographs, about twenty of them, are mysterious, seductive, even beautiful and even more bizarre when we learn that the first represents the minerals of a volcanic rock, basalt, which was mixed with clay and used for make more tiles. powerful. in Turkey in the 6th century BC; a tile was magnified 200 times and then photographed with polarized light. The second is the result of an experiment in 2016, at the University of Pennsylvania, in which grains of rice were burned after germinating and fermenting, so that they could be compared to those discovered during archaeological excavations. And the third is silk fibers wrapped in silver or gold covered in silver that had been woven into a shimmering fabric from 17th century Iran.
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