Find a Falling Star

Regine Petersen, 2013

Curated by Stefania Rössl and Massimo Sordi
06.12.2013 — 10.01.2014

A meteorite bears witness to the first formation of matter in our solar system. It has remained unaltered since it formed in the dust of our sun’s birth, holding the memory of the beginnings under its surface for billions of years. Looking at a meteorite is not unlike looking at a photograph: we are faced with an alien object which we relate to through particular notions of distance and time. Holding a representation of the past, its symbols bear clues yet resist resolution.[Read more]

A meteorite bears witness to the first formation of matter in our solar system. It has remained unaltered since it formed in the dust of our sun’s birth, holding the memory of the beginnings under its surface for billions of years. Looking at a meteorite is not unlike looking at a photograph: we are faced with an alien object which we relate to through particular notions of distance and time. Holding a representation of the past, its symbols bear clues yet resist resolution.

On 30 November 1954 a meteorite fell on a house in the small town of Sylacauga, Alabama. The grapefruit sized object crashed through the roof, bounced off a radio and hit 31 year-old Ann Hodges on her hip while she was napping on her couch.
The incident brought a Special Forces investigation to her door and a great deal of media attention. Ann’s husband Eugene realised that the 4 billion year old rock from the asteroid belt could be worth a lot of money – a legal battle with the landlady followed, who claimed ownership of the meteorite, and potential buyers lost interest. Ann had a breakdown, and Eugene blamed the meteorite for their divorce 10 years later.

The day after Ann Hodges was struck, a farmer named Julius McKinney discovered a second fragment of the meteorite in the middle of a dirt road when his mule shied away from it. But because he was black, and the Civil Rights Act was still a decade away, he was afraid the rock would be taken away from him and kept it a secret. Later he was able to sell it to the Smithsonian for enough to purchase a small farm and a used car.

Taking the incident of the woman struck by a meteorite in her Alabama home as a starting point, ”Stars Fell On Alabama became an investigation touching memory, human relationships, religion, race and slavery.

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Regine Petersen

is a photographer and writer based in London and Hamburg. She received her MA in Photography at the Royal College of Art in 2009. Exhibitions of her works include the Musée de l’Elysée in Lausanne, James Hyman Gallery in London, House of Photography in Hamburg and Aperture Gallery in New York. She is a recipient of the National Media Museum Bursary, the Alfried Krupp von Bohlen and Halbach Grant for Contemporary Photography and was nominated for the Rencontres d’Arles Discovery Award 2012.