An Object For Measuring Distance by Soyoung Shin

scotland-beach-small spiral-jetty-3-2-small_670 salvation-mountain-copy_670 jtree-composit-copy_670 unnamed-1 unnamed-4 unnamed-2On a day trip with Charlie Matlack, a friend who studies engineering, we had a conversation about retroreflectors: objects that reflect light back to the light’s source. Such objects are used on boats so that boats are picked up on radar, a kind of declaration of “here I am.” He told me also that retroreflectors are installed permanently on the moon for scientists to measure the distance between the earth and the moon.

I adopted the retroreflector as a symbol to situate myself in place and I built my own. I bring this object when traveling, and photograph it at destinations. This creates a document of the places I’ve been and grounds myself by spending more time at the locations in a performative fashion.