Speculum Venus

Nastasya Martynova

Welcome to a new world where the unique properties of copper allowed scientists to create a special chemical compound, to edit the genome, to protect humans from disease and to prevent extinction. Cuprum became the heart of a new religion: people believed in copper, in its forgotten alchemical embodiment – Venus, which bestows energy and transmutes matter. So humanity has found maternal consolation and has returned to the feminine, and the once revered foremother became the many-faced goddess of the coming era. The belief in her – ancient, yet renewed – gave deliverance from fears to the world, combining the human with the non-human.

During the 2020 coronavirus pandemic, reports about studies of the antiseptic properties of copper and its use in epidemiology appeared in the media. Is it possible for copper to become a key element of our future? And what will the world where it has indeed become one look like? Combining the speculative method and photography, I look into Speculum Venus, which means “mirror of Venus” in Latin, in an attempt to see the hidden reality. In its reflection, the past and the future, science and religious myth, male and female essences are combined. On its surface, a space is constructed where there is no confrontation and opposition between the subject and the object. This series is a visual experiment and my reasoning “What if?” with open-ended questions. The real and the fantastic, the pragmatic and the occult meet at the crossroads of human fears in order to unite either in a hallucination or in a prophecy.

August 2020
St. Petersburg, RU

Photography in Light of the Pandemic