The last month spent as artist-in-residence at Gamli Skoli, Hrisey, Iceland has given me the opportunity to pause as consider how fortunate I was to have all that time, space, and support to just make work. It gave me the headspace most importantly to just take time to read, research and experiment. I was able to work on three projects; Task 2, a series of drawing supported by external funding, and the project I proposed for the residency. This involved research into the asterism Pleiades, its mythological origins and contemporary study, prompted by the culmination event on November 21. This starting also point lead me to the DASCH Project and many beautiful poems about the stars, and the colour blue.
Also known as the Seven Sisters, this cluster in the Taurus constellation (RA 3h 47m 24s | Dec +24° 7′ 0″), has been documented as early as 1600 BC on the Nebra Sky Disc. Pleiades provides a rich history of interpretation, documentation and lore to explore and question. Looking at non-Western interpretations alongside modern day scientific documentation, I hope that overlapping the two approaches to understanding of one subject will create a deeper understanding of a place that is intangible.
To this end I learned that through 7 stars are visible to the naked eye, in fact 528 stars contribute to its brightness. I wondered is all these stars are documented and named, or now much we have thought about each of them. Do they feel neglected compared to the closest brightest 7? Do they feel like sisters? I thought I would take the time to think about each one of them, by drawing a portrait of them, and thinking of a question for each as well. This has lead to a 528 line poem of questions, to be bound in an accordion book, and so far; 380 drawings.
The questions range from scientific, to personal, to moral, but are all ultimately questions I could ask myself, a friend or a sister. Harkening, the way we look up to the sky with questions about ourselves, projecting those big issues onto glimmering balls of gas, in hopes of understanding.