And I Awoke and Found Me Here On The Cold Hill’s Side, 2018
Gelatin Silver Prints, 20x16”
And I Awoke and Found Me Here on the Cold Hill’s Side is a series of six images created from the book pages of a short story by James Tiptree Jr. Tiptree’s writing was celebrated for its direct tone, ardency, and fearlessness. The writer Robert Silverberg’s introduction to the 1975 edition of the short story collection Warm Worlds and Otherwise praises Tiptree’s language as one which could never be achieved by a woman. And yet, Tiptree was the pseudonym used by Alice B. Sheldon, a female author indulging in fantastical and dark psychological cosmic journeys inspired by pulp tales and lesbian sexual desires. In Tiptree’s short story And I Awoke and Found Me Here on the Cold Hill's Side (1972), a reporter interviews a captain of a spaceport, who describes how sex with aliens has ruined his and everyone else’s lives. He warns the reporter to leave immediately to avoid contracting the same addictive obsession with travelers from another world. Tiptree’s short story has been ascribed to her repressed sexuality. In writing under a male pseudonym and through the voice of a male protagonist, she insulated her subjectivity twice and achieved freedom to discuss her desires under these terms. In exposing the scanned pages as negatives in the darkroom, Nelson made the text on the back of the paper seep through to the front. Using a flashlight for exposure, with fast strokes of light caressing the photosensitive surfaces, she revealed the front and the back of the pages simultaneously, rendering the words illegible and conflating fore and rear, before and after.