Embalmed Pet Shop

lambda prints, h: 20 x w: 30 in


Year 2008.

The concept is the practice of embalming the dead through the photographs and bringing them back to a life, process that is and will be possible by present photographic technology and future cloning technology, which is easy to describe.

Photographic image is both, in fact, the thing represented and eternal thing. In Ancient Egypt, eternal life was the main focus of all ancient Egyptians, which meant preserving the body forever, so they practiced embalming the dead. With it, they aimed against death, saw eternal survival as depending on the continued existence of the corporeal body. Egyptian culture believed the body was home in the afterlife to a person's Ka and Ba, without which it would be condemned to eternal wandering. Photography is providing a defense against the passage of time; it satisfied a basic psychological need in man, for death is but the victory of time. To preserve, artificially, as his bodily appearance is to snatch it from the flow of time, to stow it away neatly, so to speak, in the hold of life.

At the present time, with the technique called spectrophotometry, for example, we can make measurements of some distant astronomical object based on its photograph, and we can determine physical properties of that object, such as its temperature or chemical composition. Knowing that technique, in the future it will be easy to determine DNA structure of photographed, in this case, animal, which means that the animal could be cloned and relived. Hopefully, these photographs will last forever, so one day, spirits of those photographically embalmed animals will have bodies to reunite with again.

After all, ask yourself, what is it: predicting or describing? A prediction is a reference to something that has not happened yet. A description, in this case, could be taken as a reference that describes something before anybody else. Jules Verne did not predict submarine; he described it in his novel. Arthur Clarke did not predict geostationary communications satellite; he described it in his magazine article.