Sky Studies: Cosmic Code, Images, and Imaginaries

In my PhD project Sky Studies: Cosmic Code, Images, and Imaginaries I study depictions of space explorations across astronomical, computational, aesthetic, and futurological realms, in order to rethink well-known (hi)stories of space research, and nurture attentiveness to more complex historical textures.

A central strand of the project is to consider the image as a tool to map and to speculate. Through a production of and a reflection upon images, the aim of the project is to examine the following research questions: How can we become more attentive to the complexities of history if we look at the work and people that were omitted in traditional histories of astronomy and space travel? How can we through studies of their photography and coding conceive of new ways of thinking about relationships between art, craft, and science; between the analogue and the digital? How can we, with astro-photography as a prism, consider the mechanisms that render things visible or invisible, known or unknown. And how can we, through these images that make the world visible otherwise, imagine different futures?

I examine these questions through three investigations that interweave historical references and new scientific studies. Sky Studies will materialize as photographs, films, weavings, installations, writings, and artist’s books. The project thus combines a production of artworks, a thinking through them, and a meta-reflection on what their materials and technologies signify (at different times).

The project, which started September 2019, will be developed at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts and Copenhagen University, with a planned stay at Comparative Media Studies/Writing at Massachusetts Institute of Technology.