Wonders of the Unseen World

Premiered as a solo exhibition at Mortlake and Company, Seattle WA, April 2018

Photographic exploration of the mythos and lore of the Hollow Earth. Rik Garrett meditates on what lies at the center of the planet, and the obsession that takes over when one begins to delve beneath the surface.

Wonders of the Unseen World is the title of a treatise on witchcraft in Salem, written by Puritan author Cotton Mather ( Also known as Wonders of the Invisible World: Observations As well Historical as Theological, upon the Nature, the Number, and the Operations of the Devils
). Another of Mather’s books, Christian Philosopher (1720) contained an exposition of Sir Edmund Halley’s theory of a hollow Earth of 1692, and served as the introduction of these ideas to American readers.  This would directly influence a number of scientists, religious leaders and iconoclasts in their search to discover the secrets hidden in the center of the planet.

Wonders of the Unseen World is a pornographic film from 1927.  Its title is expressive of the era it was filmed in, the Unseen World being a provocative way to refer to explicit sexual content generally hidden from public view. The film plays off of a well-known trope: a man fantasizes over erotic imagery until his dreams materialize – a prurient take on themes of living, communicable artwork as written about by esoteric authors such as Paschal Beverly Randolph and Austin Osman Spare.

Wonders of the Unseen World is an amalgamation of the titles of numerous books written about the occult promising to reveal the hidden secrets of the planet, whether those be esoteric or scientific.  Historical titles include Unseen World: The Science, Theories, and Phenomena behind Events Paranormal, Exploring Unseen Worlds, Life in the Unseen World, and Science and the Unseen World.  Most notably, publisher Ray Palmer published the subterranean works of Richard Shaver under titles such as Hidden World and Secret World.