When you find yourself immersed in the spectacular you never forget it. The vast unfathomable clusters of stars surrounding our pale blue dot leading us into the unknown, remind us of this awesome mystery every time we look up. It filters into our atmosphere and fills us with an immeasurable awe, one we cannot comprehend.
Taking this idea and doing it justice is ambitious. The only way that made sense to me to install an experience like this was to surround the viewer with it. Painting a car park sounds somewhat unorthodox, but with the right concept it made for the perfect setting. In there lies the opportunity to immerse the viewer, and give them a chance to experience the unknown in the most unlikely of places. Just like a trip out to the desert to stargaze, you have to know the best places to go.
The title inspired by Carl Sagan puts that heart-sinking feeing into words better than I ever could;
“Our feeblest contemplations of the Cosmos stir us – there is a tingling in the spine, a catch in the voice, a faint sensation, as if a distant memory, of falling from a height. We know we are approaching The Greatest of Mysteries.”
After adjusting our minds to working at night, our uneasy routine become part of the experience. Daylight became the reminder to close our eyes. The installation lasted 32 nights, and the sacrifice of any normal order. Just like the wonderful interconnectivity we should all feel with one another, this project was brought to life through the vision and determination of a whole team of people; from my assistants who came from all over the world to help, to the team at D3 who helped maintain some sort of order while we created the unknown. Their sharing of a rather ambitious vision helped me create something that if you experience you will never forget.
32 nights, 740 man hours, 18 walls, 1840 sq metres, 620 stencils, 560 clouds, 50000 stars, 288 litres of paint, 150 cans.
Check out the illustrations that went into this project here
Photos by Jo Askew.