Artist-in-Residence at NOAO/KPNO, Tucson and Kitt Peak, Arizona, USA 28 April – 30 May 2012
In May 2012, photographer Judy Goldhill and I were invited to work for a month as the first artists-in-residence at the headquarters of US NOAO (National Optical Astronomy Observatory) and at Kitt Peak National Observatory (KPNO) in the Tohono O’odham lands in southern Arizona. Night after night, observing the vast clear skies through the powerful telescopes in the observatories felt like being in a time machine seeing into the past – unimaginably distant objects billions of light years away. The phenomenal encounters were intensified further by ‘observing the observers’ in the control rooms throughout the night. The environment became ideal for my ongoing research into darkness, intense blackness, the ‘blackest black’. Defined by its absence of light, black paradoxically enables us to see light. The light from celestial objects and the information gleaned from the telescopes would not be possible without the blackness of night. During the residency, I became increasingly conscious of the significance and implications of ‘seeing’ in the dark, and it became an apt metaphor for my experiences. I am making artworks in a variety of media that might reflect this dark/light, visible/invisible continually shifting cosmological temporality. Focusing on my explorations, the project is continuing with a forthcoming residency in November (View The Region of the Stars post) in the observatories in Chile. View also Where Art & Astronomy Meet post.