TRANSIT OF VENUS | 2004 | installation
On June the 8th 2004, an extremely rare celestial event unfolded before the eyes of geographically and meteorologically fortunate observers: the passage of Venus between the Sun and the Earth, causing the fiery methane enveloped planet to appear as an undulating silhouette with an aqua-green halo, floating upon the face of the Sun. The phenomenon is known as the Transit of Venus and it occurred last in 1882.
In order to distill all of the subtle nuances of the Transit, artists Evelina Domnitch and Dmitry Gelfand are creating a Machina Helioscopica, a telescope with a compound lens attached, allowing the telescopic image to be projected on a screen without the use of any recording media or electronic amplification. A coelostat will follow the Sun's trajectory and send its reflected image from a rotating mirror to the telescope.
Because the Transit of Venus will only be seen in New York during sunrise, from 5:30 to 7:30 AM on June 8th, the solar screening room, which stands on the dramatic 11th floor roof top of I-20 Gallery, will open to the public at 5:00 AM. The exhibition will continue during regular gallery hours with daily projections of the intense, ever-changing activities on the Sun, until the summer solstice on June the 21st. The installation will function only when the sky is clear enough for the Sun to be seen. Partial cloudiness and haziness are permissible, however rain and thick clouds will not allow for the work of the installation.
There have been only five recorded observations of past Venusian Transits. Since the phenomenon was discovered, it has always been a much-anticipated event and many governments have sponsored fanciful expeditions to observe the transit from favorable geographic locations. The scientific goal was to determine the distance between the Sun and the Earth, an Astronomical Unit - the measuring stick of the Universe. However, such attempts failed due to the optical trickery of the Venusian atmosphere. This time around, the event will have a purely aesthetic value, revealing the suprematistic optical splendor of cosmic interactions in the striking graphical form of a real-time projection.
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