Today is a historic day in astro science: NASA is crashing its $4 billion Cassini spacecraft into Saturn.
Instead of being left in orbit, and possibly crashing into one of Saturn’s moons, contaminating any life(!) that might be there, NASA has chosen this spectacular suicidal dive into Saturn’s atmosphere. After more than four years beyond its expected life time the spacecraft has no fuel left to adjust its course any longer.
At around 14 o’clock MET the Cassini spacecraft, which spent 20 years in space and has sent us amazing views of the Saturn system, will dive into Saturn’s atmosphere, sending final data for as long as possible before burning up like a meteor.
Diana Scherer grows and cultivates her art by “planting oat and wheat seeds in soil, and then carefully, meticulously, warping the growth pattern.”, wired writes.
Organic growth transformed into aesthetic outwordly systems, structures, and patterns: “I think that people, they cherish nature, but on the other hand they are really quite cruel with nature,” Scherer says. “Like the gardener is telling us he loves nature, but the garden has to look like what he wants it to in his mind. He has to crop and prune and use poison.”
In our daily lives we just see what’s above the soil: leaves, stems and shafts, blooms. But Diana’s art shows us new grounds and worlds.
"Our modern understanding of light and color begins with Sir Isaac Newton and a series of experiments that he published in 1672. He was the first to understand the rainbow — he refracted white light with a prism, resolving it into its component colors: red, orange, yellow, green, blue and violet.
Artists were fascinated by Newton’s clear demonstration that light alone was responsible for color. His most useful idea for artists was his conceptual arrangement of colors around the circumference of a circle, which allowed the painters’ primaries (red, yellow, blue) to be arranged opposite their complementary colors (e.g. red opposite green), as a way of denoting that each complementary would enhance the other’s effect through optical contrast." Still today Newton's color system is used in fine arts.
But coming back to light: One of the contemporary artists who is using light as a medium for art is the American Stephen Knapp. His huge installations are made only of coated glass and light. The visible color on walls is reflected and affected by the angle of the glass to the light source – usually a halogen light. The glass reflects in two directions and the colors shoot around, overlap and create new color mixes.
As of today, no human will ever get physically near to the other planets of our solar system apart from earth, moon or mars. But thanks to the wonderful artwork of Katie Paterson, Candle (from Earth into a Black Hole), we now have the opportunity to experience at least the smell of our neighbours.
"Candle (from Earth into a Black Hole) is a scented, white candle which burns down over 12 hours. The candle creates a journey through space via smell; as if taking off from Earth, journeying to the Moon, the Sun, Mars, Jupiter, the stars, all the way into a Black Hole. The candle is formed of 23 layers, each containing a unique scent reflecting each place or planet. The Clouds and Troposphere smell like ‘water, humidity, wet basement, washed towels’ and the Ozone like ‘the clean smell after a thunder storm.’ The Moon is scented like ‘burnt gunpowder’ and Titan, Saturn’s Moon with ‘sweet and bitter almonds, cherry, slight benzene.’ Mars, an ‘old penny’.
‘Produced for the exhibition at the Frac Franche-Comté, Candle (from Earth into a Black Hole) was designed after an analysis of our universe’s molecules. This work shines like a candle composed of different strata whose perfume corresponds to the odor of each star, planet and space making up our system: a smell of gunpowder for the moon, geranium for the stratosphere, raspberry and rum for space and sulfuric acid for Venus… From Earth’s forest smell to odorless empty space and Black Holes, Katie Paterson invites us on an olfactory voyage to the ends of the Earth.’" FRAC Guide
"«Magnet TV» was developed relatively late by Paik. By then he had already engaged in numerous complex operations on the inner-workings of television sets, but was yet to consider how magnets applied from outside were also well-suited to altering the electromagnetic flow of electrons.[…] At first Paik worked with only a horseshoe-shaped electromagnet and a degausser, used by technicians to deactivate the television screen’s state of being charged.[…] The magnet’s force of attraction hindered the cathode rays from filling the screen’s rectangular surface. This pushed the field of horizontal lines upward thus creating baffling forms within the magnet’s gravitational field. If the magnet maintained its position, the picture remained stabile—apart from minimal changes caused by fluctuations in the flow of electricity. Moving the magnet caused endless variations on the forms. " (Source: Edith Decker, Paik Video, Cologne, 1988, p. 60ff.)
The phrase "water seeks its own level" is a metaphor for how things equalize. In physics it stands for hydrostatics and is influenced by atmospheric pressure, water pressure depending on depth and water's density. A good example for this process are 'Communicating Vesels', where several containers connected through pipes are filled with liquid. That liquid will reach the same level in all parts of the system, regardless of what the lowest point is of the pipes.
The artist Allan Wexler created a brilliant artwork Coffee Seeks its Own Level about this phenomenon:
"Coffee Seeks its Own Level choreographs group dynamics. If one person alone lifts his cup, coffee overflows the other three cups. All four people need to coordinate their actions and lift simultaneously."