Between Earth and Sky enjoins the international participants of ISEA with Australia’s aboriginal peoples. These are our audience; our project is the product of – and topic for – their dialog.
Audience engagement occurs on two levels. Engagement with the artwork is direct, immersion in spatial projections, enhanced by their interaction within that space. In the course of this interaction they will encounter projections and sounds that relate astronomy and aboriginal cosmology. The viewers’ participation is vital because they themselves have an understanding of Earth and Sky that bears on the interaction. The second form of engagement is a discussion in which artists and advisors engage the audience in an expanded dialog. All participants will be prompted with questions to spur a dialog about the conflicted or congruent views of aboriginal cosmology and contemporary astronomy.
We hope to provide a gateway experience for our international and indigenous audience. It will be one in which traveling guests touch the earth in Sydney; and where Australia’s aboriginal hosts can engage with them. Seemingly neutral topics, Earth and Sky, will take on new meaning for each audience member. Cultural differences and similarities will emerge in a dialog between local and global, between science and cosmology.
We have assembled a team of advisors from both aboriginal and contemporary scientific communities to consult on their respective cosmologies. The team will separately discuss the questions above with the advisor groups, compile the information gained, and then distribute the compilation to the advisors. Finally both the aboriginal and scientific advisor groups will enter into dialog regarding their statements. The project content will emerge from this dialog. At present we believe that a panel discussion among the advisors held within the dome or gallery space would be the best way to introduce the project and its underlying ideas.
Concurrently, the artistic team will work closely with the ISEA host staff to strategize the installation using the dome or gallery’s capabilities for visualizing cosmographic data and imagery. We intend the artwork to be interactive with the participants, so that the viewer might find his or her place within the mytho-scientific discussion. The duration of the project will involve investigating appropriate means for this interaction. Additional team members may need to be added once this is determined.