blueshift (n.)

A decrease in the wavelength of radiation emitted by an approaching celestial body as a consequence of the Doppler effect.

Blueshift is a collaborative project between myself and astrobiologist Usha Farey Lingappa exhibited at Practice Gallery in Philadelphia. Originally performed as a chalk talk; the lecture, drawings and prints have been documented as an artists' book. Blueshift is an exploration of the contemporary science of astrobiology through the lens of science fiction. 

Lingappa is a PhD candidate at the California Institute of Technology. She built a scientific background working in astrobiology at NASA and SETI, biochemistry at Prosetta Biosciences, and astrophysics at the Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory. 

Manned Mock Mars Mission (MMMM) initiated with a two week rotation from December 21, 2013-January 4, 2014 aboard the Mars Desert Research Station (MDRS.) MDRS is an analog Mars simulation performed in isolation in the Utah desert. During my stay I worked with the scientists and engineers of Crew 132. I then spent two weeks performing a solo analog in the Loess Hills of Iowa.

This project began with an investigation into the similarities between the paintings of the Rocky Mountain School and the imagery we receive today from Mars; Specifically, the years of the westward expansion and development of the railroad, and the steps we are currently taking to colonize Mars. Romantic imagery in the form of painting and satellite imagery has presented the public with utopias that drive the funding of the technology that is necessary to colonize these places. The paintings of artists such as Thomas Moran stimulated the imagination of settlers and tourists and helped to fund the development of the railroad. Likewise, imagery from Mars today builds excitement in the public and helps fund NASA projects.

The solo analog was carried out with a mix of 19th century and space age technology, in a re-constituted prarie in Iowa, the most heavily modified landscape in the US.  

MMMM was generously supported by an Iowa Arts Council Grant and an NPN/VAN Grant.

The first step of MMMM. This section contains a collection of photographs taken by members of Crew 132 at the Mars Desert Research Station, December 21st 2013 through January 4th 2014. Crew 132 consisted of Nick Orenstein, Hiroyuki Miyajama, Charles H. Parrish II, Usha Farey Lingappa, Michael Bourchard, Dani Youngsmith and myself.

Video edited and narrated by Nick Orenstein. 



Telemetrics: Drawing Translations began with charcoal drawings on paper, which were then converted into digital information, and finally re-rendered by three-dimensional software. This series of translations allow for a close exploration of the drawing’s topography that is similar to the viewpoint of an exploratory rover. The imagery from this digital landscape was collected, exported, and translated into the mediums of print, painting, and video.

This body of work was developed in reference to the telemetric systems that are currently in use to explore the cosmos. Space telescopes convert a physical stimulus (light) into electrical signals, or raw data. In order to be analyzed and understood, that information must be converted into a file that can be read over multiple representational platforms, both numerically and visually. Interpreting these data requires translation, which occurs at several levels as the astronomers prepare the data for interpretation. The resultant images, especially those presented to the public, have gone through several stages of adjustment for both informative and aesthetic reasons. 

In Telemetrics: Drawing Translations, drawing functions as the phenomena of the universe, all of that which can only be understood through telemetric analysis. The drawing’s primacy in this system is established through its physicality, level of resolve, and the amount of interpretable information it contains. The derivatives of the drawings mirror the entropic nature of translating information across formats. It is in a similar way that telemetric systems allow us to experience otherwise untouchable places, even if the representations of these far off places is exaggerated or inaccurate. 

 
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