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Art

A 70-Meter-Wide Installation by Artist Yang Yongliang Immerses Viewers in a Galactic Cityscape

July 24, 2020

Grace Ebert

Artist Yang Yongliang (previously) harmonizes human-generated light and naturally glowing stars in a celestial, 4K video installation. Set to an eerie, technological soundtrack, “Journey to the Dark II” winds through a mountainous city that spans 70 meters across. Movement in the immersive piece is confined mostly to the cars traveling across bridges and down streets, and the lights emit a constant glow among the modern architecture and landforms.

Residing in Shanghai and New York, Yang often juxtaposes modern, industrial life and organic elements to produce dystopian environments that question human progress. “Ancient Chinese people painted landscapes to praise the greatness of nature; Yang’s works, on the other hand, lead towards a critical re-thinking of contemporary reality,” said a statement about a similarly foreboding project.

To explore more of the artist’s digital work and follow his upcoming projects, check out his Instagram and Vimeo.

 

“Journey to the Dark II” (2019), video installation, 12 × 70 meters, 12,600 × 2,160 pixels. All images © Yongliang Yang, shared with permission

 

 



Art

Dots, Dashes, and Lines Form Astronomical Maps Painted by Shane Drinkwater

March 7, 2020

Andrew LaSane

All images © Shane Drinkwater

Australian artist Shane Drinkwater writes on his website that when it comes to painting, he’s interested in the “making.” Using a system of lines, dashes, numbers, and circles, Drinkwater creates works that often appear as astronomical maps of imagined star systems. Abstract stars form repeated patterns around vibrant planets. The artist allows the act of painting to dictate how the cosmic compositions land on his canvas, and the results are visually arresting.

“I delve into the act of painting with a minimum repertoire of visual elements aiming for a maximum visual intensity,” Drinkwater writes. “Ideas and images appear through the making of the work, language becomes unnecessary, I let the work speak for me.” To see more of these cool maps and other paintings by Shane Drinkwater, follow the artist on Instagram. (via This Isn’t Happiness)

 

 



Illustration

Celestial Illustrations by Diana Sudyka Fill a New Book Celebrating 19th Century Astronomer Maria Mitchell

October 11, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

A new book written by Hayley Barrett and illustrated by Diana Sudyka (previously) celebrates the life of pioneering 19th century astronomer Maria Mitchell. Mitchell was America’s first professional female astronomer and taught at Vassar College (which was a women’s college at the time). She also used her platform as an internationally renowned scientist to advance women’s rights and abolition. What Miss Mitchell Saw tells the story of Mitchell’s life, geared toward young readers with lush, star-filled illustrations that intermingle celestial shapes and patterns throughout the story’s earthbound elements.

“I immediately was struck by the beauty of Barrett’s writing, and her deep respect for Maria Mitchell was very apparent,” illustrator Diana Sudyka tells Colossal. “It was also important to me is as a manuscript about the power of observation, and a woman in science at a time when there were very few, and even less being recognized for their contributions.” The artist shares that she didn’t know much about Mitchell at the start of the project, but learned through research how Nantucket whaling culture and the Quaker faith shaped Mitchell’s character and point of view.

Sudyka used india ink, gouache, watercolor, and handmade indigo to build the imagery for What Miss Mitchell Saw. The artist works by hand and in full color from the get-go, and uses some digital techniques at the end of the editing process, once the images are ready to be integrated into the book. To complement the artist’s established aesthetic, which naturally meshed with the storyline, Sudyka tells Colossal that she drew inspiration from scrimshaw (decorative and narrative carvings into whale bones by whalers), as well as Rockwell Kent’s illustrations for an edition of Moby Dick. “The biggest challenge for working on this book was simply finding good reference material to make sure I got the look and feel of Nantucket and that time period right,” Sudyka explains.

In addition to her work as a children’s book illustrator, Sudyka has volunteered at the Field Museum of Natural History’s bird lab for over a decade, and is drawn to science and natural history. You can see more of the artist’s work on Instagram and find prints in her online store. What Miss Mitchell Saw was published last month by Simon and Shuster, and is available on Amazon.

Scrimshaw (resin replica), photo: Diana Sudyka

Scrimshaw (resin replica), photo: Diana Sudyka

Concept sketches by Diana Sudyka, courtesy of the artist

 

 



Amazing Photography

Earth's Rotation Visualized in a Timelapse of the Milky Way Galaxy by Aryeh Nirenberg

August 20, 2019

Kate Sierzputowski

Although the Earth rotates below the sky, aerial time-lapse videos often have the perspective of a celestial scene rushing above the ground. In this brief video by Aryeh Nirenberg, the Milky Way becomes completely stationary, highlighting specifically the Earth’s rotation. Nirenberg recorded the time-lapse with a Sony a7SII with the Canon 24-70mm f2.8 lens while using an equatorial tracking mount over a period of three hours. You can see more of his starscapes on Instagram and Youtube. (via Kottke)

 

 



Photography Science

140,000 Visuals of Outer Space are Free to the Public in NASA's Image Library

June 12, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

Backlit wisps along the Horsehead Nebula upper ridge are being illuminated by Sigma Orionis, a young five-star system just off the top of this image from the Hubble Space Telescope

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has created a library of 140,000 high definition files filled with photos, videos, and sound clips, all free and available for download. Visual and audio content of planets, moons, nebulas, and specific space missions, are searchable by file type. The library spans the last hundred years, and users can narrow searches to focus on any timeframe between 1920 and 2019. Each file also contains a thorough caption including the date and contextual information about the content. Explore the library on NASA’s dedicated website and see more updates from space on the Administration’s official Instagram. (via fubiz)

Composite image of southern Africa and the surrounding oceans captured by six orbits of the NASA/NOAA Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership spacecraft

Hubble Space Telescope, the Spitzer Space Telescope, and the Chandra X-ray Observatory produced a matched trio of images of the central region of our Milky Way galaxy

Hubble space telescope captures vivid auroras in Jupiter’s atmosphere

This view from the Mast Camera (Mastcam) in NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover shows an outcrop with finely layered rocks within the ‘Murray Buttes’ region on lower Mount Sharp

Hubble space telescope captures Mystic Mountain in the Carina Nebula

This view of Jupiter was taken by Voyager 1. This image was taken through color filters and recombined to produce the color image

Moon – North Polar Mosaic, Color

 

 



Art Photography

Photograph of Multicolored "Cloud" Galaxy by Amateur Photographers Combines 1,060 Hours of Exposure

May 4, 2019

Andrew LaSane

A group of French amateur astrophotographers called Ciel Austral (“Southern Sky”) have shared a 240-megapixel image of the Large Magellan Cloud (LMC). Constructed using 4,000 images, the seamless collage required over 1,060 hours of exposures. Together, the images form a massive digital poster with colorful explosions and pockets of cosmic dust that resemble watercolors dripped and blown across an inky black surface.

The individual photos that make up the 14,400-pixel-wide image were captured between July 2017 and February 2019 using a 160mm refracting telescope at an observatory in Chile that is owned by the photographers. The colors in the image are not what you would see if you traveled 163,000 light years to get LMC. Ciel Austral used special filters that (based on which elements are present) highlight parts of the visual spectrum. The resulting swirling hues are best appreciated in close-ups like the ones below. To see the full size image in all of its glory, head over to the Ciel Austral website.