Today, the Watching the Sun virtual residency officially started. Kicked off by the lunar eclipse (which almost none of us could see due to cloud cover, of course!), the participants met over Zoom for the first time, joined by the Mayes Creative team.
Carolyn Kennett started us off by explaining a little more about the eclipse, sharing two views of the full moon: one as normal and the next showing the darkening of the moon as it enters the Earths shadow during the lunar eclipse (as viewed from the USA today):
Full Moon entering Earth’s shadow
We jumped straight in with a talk and discussion from Melanie King, visual artist and practice-based researcher, followed by a discussion on art-science collaboration between Jo Mayes (Creative Director of Mayes Creative and filmmaker) and Justin Wiggan (sound artist and educator), and topped off with a film sharing by Carolyn Kennett, archeoastronomer.
It has been a thoroughly packed day which the participants have responded to in many interesting ways. Already forming creative collaborations and percolating ideas, noted below are just some of the responses from the artists. We’re already looking forward to seeing what comes next!
From David Bickley:
I was inspired by the image of Lunar Copernicus crater – Herschel 1842 shown earlier — I wanted to create a response for a modern audience similar to that experienced by the public over a hundred years ago upon first viewing Herschel’s image. this is something I had done before with an installation that remediated Victorian biologist Ernst Haeckel’s work in the microscopic spectrum [https://vimeo.com/72094888 ]. Here I have taken some hi-res NASA footage and processed it to be in character with early astronomy — the audio is a version of the strange sounds heard on the dark side of the moon in 1969, again highly processed.
Started the residency week with a woodblock carved sun in hopeful preparation of being able to see the sun break through the fog.
From Josie Purcell:
A bit more background info – my work has covered topics such as the global sand crisis, sustainable mining practices, our use/misuse of plastics via stories of mythical goddesses, littering, recycling, etc. My current project is focussing on land ownership/soil health through the lens of an allotment space, and a new idea relating to tidal effects in rivers (in my day job I work for an environmental/ecological rivers charity) so always interested in minimising the damage we do to rivers and taking care of water resources/quality.
(Josie also notes that she loves kaleidoscopes – which you can see in the video below!)
From a collaboration between Lucy S, Carolyn T and Liv G:
A new constellation formed by a clusters of stars.
From Catherine Higham:
One drop of Indian ink on soaked Bockingford paper
Sometimes, when you have no idea how to start (I am new to the subject of astronomy!) you just have to make something then see where it takes you. Eeeek!
circular forms (celestial objects)
light & dark
black & white
From Josie Purcell:
Being inspired to create something ‘moonrisesque’ from my desk surroundings.
From Lewis Andrews:
One of my favourite quotes going through my head when working:
“And yes, every one of our body’s atoms is traceable to the big bang and to the thermonuclear furnaces within high – mass stars. We are not simply in the universe, we are part of it. We are born from it.” – ‘Origins’. Neil DeGrasse Tyson & Donald Goldsmith. 2005. P29
Lewis has also shared some of his most recent work, titled Carbon Cosmos:
He says: Within these drawings, questions and theories currently circulating within science are presented visually using materials rich in carbon. Echoing what may have happened billions of years ago when life first appeared on earth and what followed shortly after.
From Carolyn Lefley:
I’m going to try and make a five day long cyanotype over the residency. I set it up in the garden this afternoon (Monday 29th November)… I’ll post updates! May end up with a blank damp piece of paper…
From Carolyn Thompson:
In response to a discussion with starlight photographer Melanie King, who is looking into ways to make her practise as eco-friendly and sustainable as possible:
That was absolutely fascinating Mel and lots of food for thought. Thanks so much. Although I work with a totally different set of materials: paper, canvas, wood, inks, paints etc I’m going through the same quest about sustainability and have started growing my own ‘dye’ garden to make inks and paints. It’s a long process!
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