Front Page: Elaine Duigenan: the universal seen in the


House of Spirits _ Elaine Duigenan

House of Spirits © Elaine Duigenan

It was a chance encounter with the astronaut Leland Melvin which led to images from Elaine Duigenan’s Micro Mundi series being literally sent into space. The astronaut then photographed her images from an orbiting space shuttle with the earth visible below. The circular shape of her prints matched the shape of the space shuttles window onto the world. The artist felt there was an uncanny visual connection between her black and white images of snail trails and the patterns seen from space over the surface of the earth. Taking the photographs into orbit added a new performed element to the work.

This example illustrates well how Duigenan’s practice operates; she focusses on the minutiae and is through that able to start to discuss very much larger issues. In other series, such as House of Spirits, she has looked at hairnets and Nylon stockings – both things that seem mundane. Scanning these objects she starts to make us look almost under a microscope at them. She observes that some hair nets are made from hair and that the genetic make-up of hair has not altered over many generations.

This is an extract from a longer essay published December 2018 on