ISM, 2017 HD Animation
Sound by Dylan Hogan-Ross
Voice by Alana Bowden
Commissioned by Penrith Regional Gallery & The Lewers Bequest for Gravity and Wonder, AU 2017.
Big screen V, Focal Point Gallery, UK 2019
Chiaroscuro , Coventry Cathedral UK. Curated by Martin Green. 2019
ISM is the result of a pairing with astronomer Graeme Wong over six weeks in the House of Wonder studios at Penrith Regional Gallery. Graeme’s area of focus is researching the molecular density of interstellar gas clouds and looking at initial conditions for star formation.
ISM pivots around several ideas: visualizing what is optically invisible to humans; connections and gaps in explanation between artist and scientist and consequently questions about how we communicate the intangible.
Scientists take on dual roles, that of the observer and the communicator. Metaphor used in science communication is a valuable, evocative, cognitive tool. It uses already acquired knowledge to position new information in our frame of reference. As an artist, I often use the ‘everyday’ as stand in: objects from bags, desks or tables. When talking about the unseen, the intangible, the invisible and unfathomable scale of the universe, when we use metaphor, human centered scale and the tangible to explain these ideas, does this tether and constrain our understanding? Can these objects become embedded in our vision of the universe?
I rendered cross sections of scientist Graeme Wong’s desk in the same method he uses to look at sample areas of the gas clouds. The animation is an inquisitive look into Graeme Wong’s research, methods of investigation, measurement and ultimately how we perceive and relate to that which we cannot see.