Lenses on the Sky is a large-scale environmental installation permanently residing outside of OMSI’s newly redesigned planetarium. This interactive installation pairs the study of space science with cultural stories from across the globe and investigates how humans across time have interpreted the stars and imagined the exploration of new frontiers.
The installation is composed of five cedar-wrapped vessels that protrude from a skyscape of hanging aluminum forms. Two of the vessels, long and telescopic, are known as the Outies. These vessels display analog interpretations of key subjects in the sky. In one, two globes, one black, one illuminated, are arrayed so that a visitor can create the illusion of a solar eclipse by moving their body as they look up in the vessel. The other tells a story of light pollution by sequencing LED strips that illuminate etched stars on a series of acrylic panels. Three other vessels, the Innies, shorter and outfitted with rear-projection scrims, show stop-motion animations that depict indigenous stories of the stars from across the globe and across time.
Stories of space science have been dominated by a cultural narrative of technology and man's triumph over nature. Lenses on the Sky is designed to reflect a diversity of gender and cultural narratives about the sky, space, science and our understanding of the universe. The project began as a request to make an interactive ceiling installation. The original brief asked only for a small-scale light fixture but the team saw a larger opportunity and found a way to bring that vision to life.
Traci Sym (experience direction), Daniel Meyers (creative direction), Reiko Igarashi (pendant design with Skylab Architecture), Kirsten Southwell (stop motion design, production), Thomas Wester (technical direction), Alyssa Glass (content strategy)