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KT Hettinga

Mergence: The Narrative and Scientific Imaging

I am interested in the mergence of the narrative and scientific imaging. Art creates the connection, the relationship of how story finds itself in a larger mapped landscape, such as seen in the diptych, Dairy Farm 1980 and 2014. Dairy Farm 1980 and 2014 use Google Maps dating back 30 years prior to the time of a tragic death on a Colorado dairy farm in Weld County. Aesthetic considerations along with Google’s computerization of date and time-of-day take the viewers back to a 5:30am sunrise just before the death of a young dairyman. The second large print, 4×5 ft., looks at the same location with recent mapping showing the now defunct dairy farm with roofless sheds and dried manure piled into cocoon mounds. The mapping is essential to depicting place. The artist transforms the mapping into specific human meaning, recreating an event in time, and bending the map into right angles to create a shallow stage. In the 2014 artwork, 3D mapping creates abstract shapes strewn across the ground—ghosts of the great B&W Holstein cows. This visual/literary artwork, mapping merged with story, creates a place where signs and symbols of ordinary life contain and point to larger truths. Clearly the two: narrative art and scientific imaging are stronger together than alone.

Media Used: Archival digital print on Moab Entrada Rag Natural 190 gsm. 52 x 44” Mapping, 3D mapping, Google, Photoshop, Epson Print on rag paper.


KT Hettinga, Professor of Art and Design, is an active artist in design, digital arts, and prints. She has received national recognition including a Research Fellowship at Yale and an Artist’s Book Residency, Women’s Studio Workshop.

Her large-scale digital series have been exhibited across the country and in Europe, the Middle East and Australia. Her artists’ books have appeared at Pyramid Atlantic Book Arts, Corcoran Museum and at the Chicago Center for Book & Paper Arts. Her work is in the permanent collections of UCLA’s Grunewald Center; university collections of Iowa, Berkeley, Virginia Commonwealth, Yale, and Harvard; and the Rare Book/Special Collections, The Library of Congress.

Her art and essays have been published in SIGGRAPH, Graphic Design: USA, American Photography 25, and Latin American Fotografia. Hettinga works in artists’ books, design projects for activist causes, and deluxe editions, such as her Grave Images: San Luis Valley (MNMP).

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