For centuries, scientists have created technology for gathering information about celestial bodies in the night sky.
In the Time & Space exhibition in the U of L Main Gallery and Helen Christou Gallery, artists Dianne Bos, Joe Kelly and John Noestheden take their own approaches to exploring the process of interpreting astronomical data and representing it using historical and contemporary modes.
Scientists have produced systems for interpreting information not visible to the human eye and rendering this information both visible and comprehensible. Early technologies simply magnified what was visible from Earth, while recent options include gathering digital data and representing this information in visual forms based on earlier depictions of the night sky.
“The artists in this exhibition each take their own approach to exploring this process of rendering visible that which cannot be seen and interacting with scientific approaches,” explains Director/Curator Dr. Josephine Mills. “The exhibition is entirely work by artists and does not include contributions from scientific communities.”
Bos is a Calgary-based artist who has a successful career working with pinhole photography. Since 2000, she has explored her interest in astronomy by producing pinhole photographs, which resemble the images of celestial bodies produced by high-technology imaging devices. In fact, her photographs are “faked” using such approaches as multiple pinholes and manipulating the light source in relation to the exposure times.
The exhibition also includes the use of books as pinhole cameras. “For this exhibition, Bos transformed a French dictionary, a guidebook to Rome and Zane Grey’s novel The Light of the Western Sky into pinhole cameras and took photographs with them,” says Mills. “She also turned a physics textbook into a light projection device.”
Noestheden, who is from Regina, SK, explores his interest in physics through several art forms, including sculpture and performance. This exhibition includes a two-dimensional work in which he addresses the history of scientific interpretation of the night sky and how those representations have changed as scientific understanding has evolved over time.
In the Imaging Drawings, Noestheden works with older maps of stars and contemporary astronomical codes used to locate stars. He selects tiny details from these and greatly magnifies them to produce visually impressive works.
Kelly’s installation Suite for M. Domestica was created for Time & Space and functions as a kind of science centre for the exhibition. Working in film and video as well as frequently collaborating with composers, the Calgary artist’s practice brings the mechanics of technology to the foreground.
In the project, two projected videos are looped at different lengths to create a constantly changing visual pairing. One video depicts insects as stills against a porch light bulb; the other is a time-lapse of a lunar eclipse. “The work also investigates the moon as a navigational device: the light bulb mimics the lunar orb, further augmented by the spherical ‘screens’ and confuses the viewer as it did the insects captured on video,” says Mills.
This is a great exhibition for art lovers and science lovers alike. Time & Space is at the U of L Main Gallery and Helen Christou Gallery until mid-January.
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