The Aether is everything. A heavenly substance breathed by immortal gods it is an invisible but essential catalyst for all reactions between the other four elements. It carries the light from the sun to our eyes and it binds matter together. Or at least that was the theory some 300+ years ago. If it was considered inexplicable, then the Aether was how it worked.
The wonderful seemingly inconsistent images by Fedor Shklyaruk (1984, Russia) tie the intangible nature of the Aether together, by referencing its roots in alchemical and natural sciences of the past through geometric shapes and scientific paraphernalia. He also looks at the divine nature of Quintessence; a later term for the Aether, and how it was considered a catalyst for change. With the breath of the gods capable of altering the elements from one state to another, the act of burning took on particular significance as a direct intervention of the gods upon an object.
Shklyaruk’s work on the Aether proposes links between photography and this magical material. Not only through the connections to light but also how both the Aether and Photography have the ability to describe the world through intangible and ephemeral connections that may or may not exist.
By this means you shall have ye glory of ye whole world & thereby all obscurity shall fly from you”
-From Sir Issac Newtons Translation of the Emerald Tablet c.1680