Warm Grounding In Our Cosy Rabbit Hole
This art project slowly started in 2022 and really started in 2023. It is, however, still very much in the idea phase. The inspiration comes from the epic photograph by Voyager 1 that the famous astrophysicist dr. Carl Sagan called the “Pale Blue Dot”. It must have been around 1990-’91 that Case first saw the Pale Blue Dot image, and it always sticked with him in his mind.
About the Pale Blue Dot (source: Wikipedia):
Pale Blue Dot is a photograph of planet Earth taken on February 14, 1990, by the Voyager 1 space probe from a record distance of about 6 billion kilometers, as part of that day’s Family Portrait series of images of the Solar System. In the photograph, Earth’s apparent size is less than a pixel; the planet appears as a tiny dot against the vastness of space, among bands of sunlight reflected by the camera.
Voyager 1, which had completed its primary mission and was leaving the Solar System, was commanded by NASA to turn its camera around and take one last photograph of Earth across a great expanse of space, at the request of astronomer and author Carl Sagan. The phrase “Pale Blue Dot” was coined by Sagan in his reflections on the photograph’s significance, documented in his 1994 book of the same name.
The importance of the photograph goes way beyond science. The Pale Blue Dot changed the collective mind model about ourselves as a species, as Earthlings! It led to a significant moment in our collective realization about our existential loneliness and total smallness: planet Earth is our tiny rabbit hole in the vast, empty universe surrounding us. Together, we are on our own.
Other inspiring legendary photographs of our planet are eg. Earthrise (168) and Blue Marble (1972). Courtesy NASA.
(*) Note. This specific Pale Blue Dot image is the 2020 improved version of the original 1990 photograph.
About the three images:
- Earthrise is a photograph of Earth and some of the Moon’s surface that was taken from lunar orbit by astronaut William Anders on December 24, 1968, during the Apollo 8 mission. Nature photographer Galen Rowell described it as “the most influential environmental photograph ever taken“.
- Blue Marble is a photograph of Earth taken on December 7, 1972, by the Apollo 17 crew Harrison Schmitt and Ron Evans from a distance of about 29,000 kilometers from the planet’s surface. It was taken by the crew of the Apollo 17 spacecraft on its way to the Moon, and is one of the most reproduced images in history.
- Pale Blue Dot is a photograph of planet Earth taken on February 14, 1990, by the Voyager 1 space probe from a record distance of about 6 billion kilometers, as part of that day’s Family Portrait series of images of the Solar System.
So how do Eartrise, Blue Marble and Pale Blue Dot relate to Rabbit Hole? Should be obvious by now.
Earth is our little cosy rabbit hole in the vast universe. Our only hiding place from the universal forces, such as black holes, galactic collisions, cosmic radiation or simply a large asteroid, that could easily destroy us in the blink of an eye, like we can easily kill an ant by simply stepping on it, even without ever knowing we did.
The biggest event in human history clearly would be the discovery of extraterrestrial life, but so far – despite the Fermi paradox – there isn’t the slightest sign of it, beit humanlike or even a bacteria. So far, we’re alone in a huge empty space … (jokingly, Case once suggested that we never have or will get a sign of aliens, because the undeveloped simply don’t have the technical means to communicate with us and the very developed already destroyed themselves through misuse of their advanced technology … )
The artworks of this art project should relate to this – collectively still dawning – reality of universal loneliness as Earthlings, and what we can do to take that feeling away: create a feeling of warm grounding on our pale blue dot.
And that is exactly what I intend to do with this art project: bring joy from beauty, and affirmation of who we are – identity and meaning through narratives, both individually and as human beings; attempting to reduce existential loneliness, by helping us feel that we belong in the life that we want to live: ‘Warm Grounding‘.