Preview: Repulsed by the Earth

Photographs by Kyle Cassidy

Early in 1996 I read a paper by two scientists at the Lawrence Livermore Labs, Willheim Gotard and Heinrick Liebmann, discussing the possibility of a subatomic gravity shield created by a rotating superconductive ceramic disc and a powerful electromagnetic field. Using this, they said, an object could be “repulsed by the Earth.” I found the words, if not the idea, fascinating. That the Earth our collective mother and protector, could be caused to push us away. Three years later, Gotard and Leibman had a working, though entirely impractical model which they were using to lift small brass weights. I contacted them in 2001 about the possibility of a more artistic endeavor, when their equipment became more practical. They were amenable, but If anything, the technology became less practical as development went on. The equipment required to levitate anything substantial fills a bread truck and costs as much as a pro football team. Power constraints make it difficult to lift something even as light as a fashion model (who must wear an uncomfortable ceramic and iron brace) for more than a few seconds before sending it crashing back into the arms of the Earth, at least one time resulting in the injury of a model. This new series explore issues of impractical science, intellectual resilience and our relationship with the Earth which we grow upon. I will be photographing with Gotard and Liebmann throughout the year 2004.