May 24, 2004

meanwhile, back on earth . . .


A strange trajectory of enquiry has led from the far flung corners of the universe back to earth. Asked to talk about Mike Nelson's "Triple Bluff Canyon", on the basis of being an artist in residence in an astrophysics department, I approached it initially from the point of view of obvious crossovers - entropy, time and instances of multiple universes. Even this initial line of thinking were already rooted in earthly concerns through the installation's references to Robert Smithson and his "Partially Buried Woodshed".

As one thing led to another, a chain of associations unravelled through land art, the pyramids of Egypt, ancient astronomies, geology, geometry, spirals, labyrinths . . . . ending in a collision between the tower of Babel and radio telescopes.

I want to build one of these ! This forms the basis of a design for a working radio telescope constructed from found materials: wood, chicken wire, radio circuits, cable, nails, rope and string. A babelscope, a tower reaching to the heavens, a bowl to catch their babel.

Posted by Jem Finer at May 24, 2004 9:19 PM