In Other Worlds, I Love You

Date: 11th May 2013
Dimensions(m) 5, 5, 5


In Other Worlds, I Love You was commissioned by Parabola for the Tatton Park Biennial 2012.

It was realised as an enigmatic sphere, a miniature planetarium presenting a roving image of space and time. A moving picture of radio waves received from deep space escorted Biennial visitors on a journey billions of years through our universal history.

Cotterrell presented a panoramic rendition of the sky, produced by the compilation of data received by radio telescopes around the world over many years and supplied by Dr Tim O’Brien at Jodrell Bank Centre for Astrophysics. At different wavelengths, the sky appears radically altered, with new bodies and events appearing and disappearing as the program moves from one aspect of the radio spectrum to the next. The shifting colours the artist has used follow conventions for the representation of wavelengths that are outside the visible spectrum, but the assignment of colour is not codified within astronomy and is often a personal, aesthetic decision. Most prominent in the images is a bright band streaking across the sphere’s interior. This is the Milky Way’s galactic plane, in which the majority of our disk-shaped galaxy’s mass lies.

The artist transposed data coordinates from an Earth- to a Sun-based model, which is what astronomers use when calculating distance and time. While Ptolemy’s Almagest advocated a geocentric model of the universe for simplicity of calculation, the sixteenth century Copernican Revolution recommended a heliocentric view. Neither is correct. The observable universe is a sphere with a radius of approximately 46 billion light years and the mass, shape and ultimate size or time of the universe (or indeed the multiverse) is not known.

Materials:

Custom 5m spherical projection system constructed of formed fibreglass sections, marine plywood, data projector, MacPro and spherical first-surface mirror.

With thanks to:
Dr Tim O’Brien, Associate Director of Jodrell Bank Observatory
Prof Paul Bourke, Director: iVEC, University of Western Australia
Steve Foster, FibreSports Ltd
Steve Cole, Articole Studios

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