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

Strange Matter

This work was included in an exhibition titled Cosmosis, on display at the Hyde Park Art Center from May 3 to August 23, 2015. One component of this exhibition was the creation of a very robust website, featuring work samples, writings and interviews with the artists and curator, Steven L. Bridges.

About the Exhibition

“The cosmos is within us. We are made of star-stuff. We are a way for the universe to know itself.”
— Carl Sagan

Cosmosis is an exhibition that investigates how the cosmos and the scientific fields of physics and cosmology continue to inspire artistic production, exerting great influence on our understanding of the universe—and our place therein. After all, scientific developments and breakthroughs inevitably have great cultural relevance and ramifications, often contributing to our sense of identity and role both as individuals and collectively within society. As is often the case: to look outward and beyond is also to look inward.

This exhibition brings together a group of artists whose interest in the cultural significance of the cosmos leads in multiple directions, intersecting with the fields of aesthetics, anthropology, philosophy, and so on, grounded in different art-making strategies and material explorations.

— Steven L. Bridges, Curator

Artist Interview

Nicholas Sagan from Steven Bridges on Vimeo.

Strange Matter, 2015
Mixed-media installation
Courtesy of the artist

This installation simulates a section of the universe using fiber optics and projected light to create clusters of “stars,” through which visitors are invited to enter and explore. Provocatively, the stars closest in proximity to the visitor glow with greater luminescence, as the installation tracks the movement of bodies in the space by way of a surveillance camera. In accompaniment, there is also a sonic element that is mixed live according to visitors’ interactions with the work. In the desolation of space and the ongoing search for meaning in the cosmos, Sagan’s installation offers a reassuring perspective: our individual existence and experiences are unique. Steeped in scientific and technological inquiry, the work is nevertheless an investigation of kinaesthetic experience — the “celestial” body in this case being formed out of flesh and blood, rather than rock and mineral.

Partially funded by a 2015 Part–Time Faculty Development Grant from Columbia College Chicago, and a Part–Time Faculty Development Grant from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Video Documentation

Strange Matter, 2015 from Nicholas Sagan on Vimeo.

Strange Matter, 2015 from Nicholas Sagan on Vimeo.


Strange Matter, 2015 from Nicholas Sagan on Vimeo.

Strange Matter, 2015 from Nicholas Sagan on Vimeo.

Still Documentation

Installation Documentation


In the Press

Timeout Chicago
Mutual Art
Choose Chicago
Chicago Contemporary Art Seminar
New City Art

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