Coloring Space

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Coloring Space

by Kimberly Arcand

This project examines the use of color in space.  In a pedagogical, didactic approach to "co-curating" science and art, I've paired modern paintings done in pointillism on a small scale (8.5 cm in diameter) by Henri van Bentum in 1972 with false color astronomical images of huge scales (from 5,268 kilometers to the full sky) taken by NASA-operated satellites between 1998-2008.  The primary theme is color, and secondary themes include space (different kinds of space, including outer space and negative space), scale (opposite - micro vs. macro-  vs. shared - dots and pixels) and artistry (open - the artistry involved in the painting is likely understood or more obvious, vs. closed - the artistry involved in the space images is almost hidden and often has negative value).   

Ideally, contemplation of these images would resurrect and acknowledge shared worlds of art and science and start a wider cultural conversation, where "division" yields to "unity" (Ref: "The Two Cultures").   The imagery function as vibrant shapers of knowledge, and the visual becomes significant by patterning existence and imparting order (Ref: "Artful Science").  The consideration of the visuals then moves the images from superficial admiration to a more profound observation.

Coming from a background in science, the "informative" approach applied in this project feels natural and accessible to me.  Does it have that effect for other types of guests? For visitors coming from an art background, does it make the science more accessible or does it get in the way of the project viewed as a whole?

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External link, Coloring Space Index

(This project was edited and updated post-critique)

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