Redshift Blueshift to Two Oblivions 
Commissioned by  Alanica Art Symposium, 
Vladikavkaz, RU
2015

Dimensions: 4m diameter x 2m high
Description

For the artwork Remote Sensor I am presented at the Alanica Symposium 2015 curated by Nav Haq I located two extremes of spatial awareness in the Caucuses and brought them together to be experienced at once through this artwork.

On August 6-7 2015 I took a trip to Russia’s Special Astrophysical Observatory (SAO) in the Upper Arkhyz region. The SAO features some of the largest telescopes in the world. It was not the stars I went to see, rather the giant eyes that peer into deep space and through time, both measured by the speed of light.

Everything is revolving. Our world spins on its axis while moving around the Sun. Our solar system whirls around the center of our galaxy and clusters of galaxies spin around the center of our universe. Hence the telescopes at the SAO are constantly revolving and so too is this installation.

The red and blue circular walls of the sculpture are made of Lexan, a material often used in the new vernacular architecture of the Caucuses to filter out the rays of our star, the Sun. I have descended the same staircase every morning of my stay here in Vladikavkaz. It is bathed in red light diffused by Lexan. Since 1977 radio frequencies transmitted by the RATAAN 6 deep space radio telescope alternate between two frequencies, redshift and blueshift. The differential between the times of reception at RATAAN determine the distance of a galaxy and the direction of its rotation.

Here in the lobby of the National Science Library of North Ossetia I have painted one of the four domes black. The library has been brought up to the current scientific understanding by the gift of this model black hole. The blackness is reflected down onto a two-meter diameter mirror on the floor. It is a scale model of the six-meter diameter mirror of the BTA-6 optical telescope at the SAO that reflects distant stars.

At the center of this installation sits a plasticene model of a 6000 year old dolmen. Plasticicene is a clay that cannot harden and remains malleable. It sits exposed atop a glass vitrine that could preserve it. The dolmen is of the oldest human creations, however, this time is nothing in comparison to celestial and geological time. This gives the artwork another sense of temporal scale. Our understanding of what lies beyond our planet in outer space and what occurs after death are equally dark. Tombs like Dolmens and Telescopes are the apparatus we use to peer into these oblivions. This artwork extends from the present these unknowns.




Making Of
with the support of Chermen Kambegaty and local fabricators.


Research Site Visits
Dolmens of the Zhane River (circa 3400 B.C.), Russia


Former Planetarium (Soviet Era) Former Mosque (pre-Soviet Era), Vladikakaz, North Ossetia, Russia


Special Astrophysical Observatory (!976-Present), Upper Arkhyz, Russia