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Documentation of Peter Coffin's UFO project

Peter Coffin

2008

From Peter Coffin's studio: "This summer a U.F.O. was built and flown over the Baltic Sea and into the Gulf of Gdansk where it was witnessed by onlookers whose sightings were captured on cell phone cameras, camcorders, digital cameras, 35 mm SLRs. The photographs and videos are not unlike classic U.F.O. documentation; they are grainy, blurry, and may appear to be of skeptical origin. While the U.F.O. in these photos is real, this familiar documentation initiates inclinations toward curiosity, skepticism or belief.

"In 1958 Carl Jung wrote, ‘Flying Saucers, A Modern Myth of Things Seen in the Sky’ arguing that an increasing rate of U.F.O. sightings, could be understood as a corollary effect of the eras pervasive atomic fears. Jung's theory is that extreme social unrest and psychological stress may manifest U.F.O sightings as a ‘uniting symbol’ in the collective unconscious. The rampant armament of nuclear nations, war, poverty, religious fanaticism and other social scares fluctuate with the frequency of U.F.O. sightings. Jung's prompt postulated that the rate of sightings reported must have been endemic of a larger social phenomena, a ‘projection-creating fantasy’ giving shape to broader psychological experience.

“It is a fact that the frequency of U.F.O. sightings is higher during times of war. A faith in rational reasoning is disturbed in these times and can result in the conviction of abstract notions of reality such as spiritualism, or fantasy. This project initiates a harmless encouragement to consider such phenomena and perhaps even consider how or why our consciousness adapts the way that it does. By facilitating sightings and potentially belief, this project encourages a kind of thinking that escapes the comfort of ordinary perspective. With respect to this project, just as the purpose of art is to ‘wash the dust of daily life off our souls’ according to Pablo Picasso, it is also 'the lie that enables us to realize the truth.'”