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Melbourne’s Science Gallery opens “Dark Matters,” an exhibition exploring cosmic mysteries “unseen, unknown, and unspoken.” Co-curated by Arts at CERN’s Mónica Bello, the gallery’s Tilly Boleyn, and young Melbourners, the show presents transdisciplinary works by a dozen artists including Jon Butt, Julijonas Urbonas, Semiconductor, Suzanne Treister, and Yunchul Kim. Centre-stage takes Kim’s 2022 Venice Biennale serpent, Chroma V, a kinetic sculpture made up of iridescent ‘cells’ activated by subatomic particles.
“Chasing the Devil to the Moon: Art Under Lunar Occupation Today” opens at Tallinn Art Hall (ES), constructing post-colonial cosmic imaginaries. Inspired by the 19th-century Estonian folk tale The Moon Painters, curator Corina L. Apostol presents six artists including Agate Tūna, Amélie Laurence Fortin, and Pau/a that explore social and political notions of “recolouring” the Moon. Fortin’s new CGI video The Blue Moon Project (2023, image), for example, offers a utopian vision of sustainable (blue) energy.
Copenhagen Contemporary opens “Yet, It Moves!,” a city-wide exhibition of art-science encounters that explore the universe’s only constant: movement. Eleven artists including Cecilia Bengolea, Ryoji Ikeda, Black Quantum Futurism, Jakob Kudsk Steensen (image: Tongues of Verglas, 2023), and Jenna Sutela worked with leading researchers through Arts at CERN, ModLab, DARK, and the IMC to express phenomena like black holes, star formation, and gravitational waves as 3D animations, VR, AR, sound, and immersive installations.
“Back to Earth: Contested Histories of Outer Space Travel” opens at New York’s Canal Projects. Nuotama Bodomo, Zahy Tentehar, and Alice dos Reis contribute to a film program that counters colonial space narratives (conquest, mining, tourism, etc.) with intersectional perspectives. Subash Thebe Limbu’s film Ningwasum (2021, image), for example, is a sci-fi film about a trio of Indigenous time travellers, from a future where Yakthung “knowledge, culture, ethics, and storytelling are still intact.”
“Cosmos,” a survey of kinetic and interactive sculptures by Björn Schülke blending “action and reaction, surveillance and performance,” opens at bitforms gallery San Francisco. Included are spacecraft- and rover-inspired assemblies, vision machines, a maquette of his Norman Y. Mineta San José Airport sculpture (2010), and sound art (image: Supersonic #3, 2007). Also featured: the German artist’s first olfactory sculpture, which emits a scent created for NASA that smells like space.
“REVENANTS,” a show featuring Kelly Richardson, Nicholas Sassoon & Rick Silva, opens at the Rectangle artist-run space in Brussels. Addressing notions of scale and the geological, Richardson’s Origin Stories (2023) zooms in on the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, and Sassoon’s lava rock-inspired The Prophet (Tanaga 1) (2023, image) evokes what exhibition essayist Alexandra Crouwers describes as “the unimaginable turmoil that is in a constant grind beneath our feet.”
“Fetishizing the Future,” a survey of visions of tomorrow ranging from aerospace to space colonies, opens at the Zeppelin Museum in Friedrichshafen, Germany. Included are projects by Alexandra Daisy Ginsberg, Tomás Saraceno (image: Launches at White Sands, 2016), Jacolby Satterwhite, and Timur Si-Qin. More than 80 aviation history artifacts complement the artworks, chronicling humanity’s enduring desire for “speed, freedom, peace, immortality, and sustainability.”
NASA’s Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) successfully impacts its target, demonstrating the potential for future asteroid deflection and planetary defence. After ten months of flying in space, NASA’s spacecraft crashed directly into Dimorphos, a 160 metre moonlet orbiting the larger asteroid Didymos. More than a feat of precise guidance and navigation, the test was “a mission of unity with a real benefit for all humanity,” says NASA Administrator Bill Nelson.
“SPACE PROGRAM: Indoctrination,” a solo show by American sculptor Tom Sachs opens at Art Sonje Center in Seoul. The fifth in a series of exhibitions where the artist playfully reconstitutes the aesthetics of his nation’s rich aereospace history (image: Launch, 2010), the show evolves the format through indoctrination. After participating in “missions and tests of knowledge” visitors can join Sachs’ DIY space program—and those lacking ‘the right stuff’ can attend a reeducation centre.
NASA researchers announce that “for the first time in history, a spacecraft has touched the Sun.” Launched in 2018 to observe its coronal plasma and magnetic field, NASA’s Parker Solar Probe cut through the Alfvén critical surface—the edge of the Sun’s superheated atmosphere—on April 28 and entered its corona. “We can actually see the spacecraft flying through coronal structures that can be observed from Earth during a total solar eclipse,” said Nour Raouafi, the probe’s project scientist.
Translating Spectroscopy data of young stars into generative LED animations, British artist duo Semiconductor premieres a series of Spectral Constellations at Mills Observatory in Dundee, Scotland, as part of NEoN Festival. In using the European Southern Observatory’s spectral data archive “as a physical material,” Ruth Jarman and Joe Gerhardt imagine distant clusters of dust and gas as “rings of light which resemble the gradiated discs of planetary and stellar formations.”
An ode to the cosmos’ hidden mysteries, Ryoji Ikeda’s The Universe within the Universe opens as part of THE INFINITE, an immersive environment inspired by NASA missions. Created by Felix & Paul Studios and PHI at Montréal’s Arsenal, the 12,500 square-feet XR experience sends visitors on a journey to the International Space Station. Along the way, they encounter Ikeda’s audiovisual installation: a pitch black room with an LED ceiling and mirrored floor, designed to create “the feeling of weightlessness and even vertigo.”
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