Ever since early humans looked up in wonder at the sun, moon, and stars, we've been on a quest to decipher the mysteries of our cosmos. The vastness and unreachability of the "unknown" captivates the imaginations of scientists and artists alike.
The stream of new technologies and results of scientific experiments that inform our new understandings of the nature of the cosmos, inspire artists to create new works in all media and genres. And both the macro and the micro play leading roles as primary sources for contemporary creativity. Whether it's flashes of the most ancient light left from the Big Bang, Curiosity Rover's rock-testing for signs of microbial life on Mars, the image of a galaxy's huge black hole eating a star, or finally knowing the nature of matter itself via the atom-smashing, Large Hadron Collider -- all evocatively engage the mind and the spirit.
More than mere depictions of scientific data, artists strive to create expressions of how this expanding knowledge of our cosmos makes them feel. Many ancient cultures did this by devising stories and pictorial representations of star constellations. More recently, the astonishing "what-if" nature of writers like Jules Verne and H.G. Wells, birthed new narratives that culminated in the golden age of science fiction in literature, on TV with Star Trek, and in movies like Star Wars. It didn't matter that these other-worldly fantasies about alien planets or aliens visiting our planet were unrealistic, their mass audience appeal remains alive and well today. The lure is understandable, as there is still so much unknown and mysterious about the cosmos.
Art & Science Collaborations put out an Open Call seeking stunning images of original art [executed in any visual media] relating to astronomy (including astrophysics, astrochemistry, astrobiology, astrogeology), space exploration, questions of cosmology, extra-terrestrials, or the nature of matter and/or time in relation to universal laws. This exhibition is the result of the jurors' selection of 40 images from 460 submitted by artists and scientists from around the world.
ART JUROR STATEMENT:
One cannot be but overwhelmed by a profound sense of wonder and amazement when pondering the cosmos. Its scale, structure, extreme conditions, and it’s ability to continuously confound our imaginations has captivated humans since the beginning.
In the past, artists created the future with their “realistic” renderings of the planets and the stars, many of which inspired the pioneering engineers and scientists of the last space age. Over the past 30-40 years, those same engineers and scientists have used robotic spacecrafts and telescopes to take photos of those once-imagined places that are as beautiful and astonishing as any artist rendering.
Today, many artists are going beyond representing “reality” with photorealistic imagery. As seen from this show they are creating imagery and experiences that convey unique insights that deepen our knowledge of the cosmos and our place in it. It is my hope, that these, and similar artists, will usher in the next great space age.
Dan Goods is an artist and "Visual Strategist" at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California
SCIENCE JUROR STATEMENT:
The theme of ASCI's art-science exhibition this year, The Cosmos, touches on the underlying threads of inspiration for both scientists and artists. In recent years, scientists have spun theories of the cosmos that seem almost to be science fiction - of universes being continuously created and ours just one of many, surviving in a Darwinian free for all. In our universe, fundamental constants of nature such as the charge of the electron, Planck’s constant, and the speed of light are perfectly attuned to produce life – as we know it, that is. Scientists even ponder why we are here, entering realms of thought considered in the past to be metaphysics or worse, anathema for serious scientists. No more.
What about artists? Working with scientific models, some artists produce visualizations such as the image of a black hole to be found on Google or the uplifting Eagle Nebula from the Hubble Space Telescope. But the artists in this year's competition go deeper, trying to produce visual representations that evoke the frightening grandeur and poetry behind these awesome objects. Many of their creations are truly inspiring and it has been very hard to choose between them.
Arthur I. Miller is a scientist and writer renowned for exploring creativity in both art and science
Jurors' Abbreviated Bios:
ASCI's Exhibition Archive:
Art & Science Collaborations, Inc. (ASCI) was founded in New York City in 1988 with the purpose of nurturing the intersection of art and science and increasing exposure to this exciting multidis-ciplinary work. The aesthetic part of the art-sci equation is our passion. www.asci.org