.::..Nicholas Sagan..::. …:.::..artworks and experiments…::.:…nicholassagan@gmail.com

PBD 34.24.36 – 2.14.1990

Plastic model kit, blue LED, red and yellow light bulbs, salt, dimensions variable

Astronomy is not some cold, factual study of the cosmos. It is a romantic affair. The stars and the night sky have served as the backdrop for some of the most grand human stories ever told. And while those stories stretch far past the individual they still embrace. Few people have been able to put these ideas into words more eloquently than Carl Sagan:

Look again at that dot. That’s here. That’s home. That’s us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every “superstar,” every “supreme leader,” every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there — on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.

The Earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that, in glory and triumph, they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of this pixel on the scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner, how frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds.

Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the Universe, are challenged by this point of pale light. Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity, in all this vastness, there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves.

The Earth is the only world known so far to harbor life. There is nowhere else, at least in the near future, to which our species could migrate. Visit, yes. Settle, not yet. Like it or not, for the moment the Earth is where we make our stand.

It has been said that astronomy is a humbling and character-building experience. There is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another, and to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we’ve ever known.

— Carl Sagan, Pale Blue Dot, 1994

This quote of his has profoundly impacted not only my research and artworks, but my foundation for thinking about how to engage with the material known as the night sky. The featured installation is a recreation of the image Pale Blue Dot, from which the quote is connected to. The model kit shown is a 1/48 scale of the Voyager space craft itself, focused back on the pale blue dot on the wall in the gallery. Rock salt embedded in the black paint of the wall glitter and glimmer as the viewers angle changes. Red and yellow lights streak through the image plane, recreating the direct waves of sunlight seen in the original image.

More from Pale Blue Dot:
Original Image Link
Wikipedia Entry

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