beautiful desolation

a galaxy of the imagination realised in a games engine - 2009 ongoing

“Gondwana” is a galaxy of the imagination created using astronomical visualisations from the Research School of Astronomy and Astrophysics at Mt Stromlo, Canberra.  It is a playful riff on astronomical data, scientific research, cosmology and allegorical discourses.

Realised in a games engine by James Hudson of Nocturnal, with an immersive interactive interface using handheld navigation and augmented reality ‘heads up’ display.

Astronomical visualisations are combined in aesthetic, striking and original ways. The galaxy is complete with fictional constellations imagined for the southern skies. My aim is to explore the premise that the universe is complex and ecological in the sense of a generative system – it is outcome and process. The universe is not just an engineering equation but is informed by creative intelligence, ordering principles, patterns, significance and aesthetics. Does it posses a kind of intelligence with aesthetic qualities as well as mathematical ones? What can folk sciences and naive ontologies offer current astrophysical problems? How can we come to terms with a universe that is expanding and accelerating, from each point in it? I am working experimentally with astronomical visualisations (3d), scientific language, cosmology (current theoretical dilemmas of mythical proportions) and folk sciences (Aboriginal and classical), to explore the gaps and connections between science and spirituality, fact and speculation. Exhibited at DreamWorlds – Australian Moving Image in Beijing and regional China 2010.

Developed during a residency at the Research School for Astronomy and Astrophysics, ANU with help from Professor Brian Schmidt and James Hudson from Nocturnal.