Chris Basmajian / Work /

Interactive video (custom software, computer, display, video camera, hanging lamp, NASA photographs of a star cluster and scientists inspecting the Kepler telescope mirror)

On March 7th, 2009, NASA launched the Kepler spacecraft containing a large camera sensor and telescope. The primary mission of Kepler is to observe a patch of stars in order to detect earth-like planets and thus extrapolate their frequency in the universe. Planets are detected by analyzing changes in stars brightness over time, thus indicating a transit (when a planet moves between a star and the camera’s fixed point of view).

In this piece, a screen displays an image of NASA scientists looking into one of the mirrors of Kepler’s telescope. A large globe shaped lamp hangs in front of a video camera atop the screen. The brightness of the lamp is used to partially mask out an area of the onscreen image, revealing another NASA photograph of a star cluster. When the viewer moves their body between the lamp and the camera, the mask is interrupted and the image of the mirror can be viewed. The viewer may also move the lamp, which moves the masked area of the image.