You Are Made Of Stardust, 2019. Double intersecting mobile in satin, steel, wood, rope. Installation view at Sirius Arts Centre, Cobh, Co. Cork, Ireland.

You Are Made Of Stardust at Sirius Arts Centre’s Central Space

Steel, motors, wood, rope, and duchess satin.

This mobile adapts a quote by Astronomer and former SETI Director Jill Tarter “We are the products of a billion-year lineage of wandering stardust. We, all of us, are what happens when a primordial mixture of hydrogen and helium evolves for so long that it begins to ask where it came from.” In addition to the text and title the piece, Bolster includes a series of pointers signaling the evolution of our ability to critically look in order to analyze and conceptualize information. In a condensed fashion, it charts the formation of humans and of astronomy. From the faculty development of critical observation, to the technical advances that help us see more of the universe we are in. Our need to continually look at our past, enables us to reassess received knowledge, and develop a better, more informed future. This is important not simply for visual artists, but for everyone. This kinetic revolving text work creates a parallel of how the planets appear to us, and how we understand the solar system to be.

You Are Made Of Stardust, 2019. Installation view at Sirius Arts Centre.

You Are Made Of Stardust, 2019. Installation view at Sirius Arts Centre.

Image/diagram details:

1 This image represents the Big Bang, the origin of the Universe, it is a fantastical depiction of this event.

2 This image is of a skull of one the earliest of our family tree of hominids, Australopithecus Africanus lived from two to three million years ago (photograph taken by Bolster at the Harvard Museum of Natural History).

3 After millions of years of evolution we became Homo Sapiens (photograph taken by Bolster at Harvard Museum of Natural History).

4 The five Platonic solids depicted here are the three-dimensional forms, which form the building blocks of nature. They also represent a mental construct of reality, seen in the form of geometry. The solids were thought to symbolize the five basic elements: earth, air, fire, water, and the universe/aether. The cube is the earth, the octahedron is air, etc. The Greek philosopher Plato, born circa 430 B.C., wrote about these solids in a work called Timaeus. Historical accounts vary, but it is generally agreed that the solids themselves, were discovered by the early Pythagoreans circa 450 B.C.

5 This diagram depicts Ptolemaic orbits (Geocentrism, the earth as the planet orbited by all others) theorized by Ptolemy in 150BC, it became the accepted view heavily influenced by the Polytheistic religion based around the Gods and Goddesses of Ancient Greece, that all known planets orbited the Earth, it is from the book  Harmonia Macrocosmica by Andreas Cellarius, 1660. This atlas of the stars maps the structure of the heavens, including the motions of the celestial bodies, the stellar constellations of the northern hemisphere, the old universe of Ptolemy, the new heliocentric one of Copernicus, and Tycho Brahe’s eccentric combination of the two — in which the Moon orbits the Earth, and the planets orbit the Sun, but the Sun still orbits the Earth. The Earth was displaced from the centre of the universe in the 16th and 17th centuries by the Copernican system and by Kepler’s laws of planetary motion.

6 Cosmic Mystery/Mysterium Cosmographicum (1597) is an astronomy book by German astronomer Johannes Kepler. In it, he proposed that the relationships between the distances dividing the six planets (known at that time) could be understood in terms of the five Platonic solids enclosed within a sphere that represented the orbit of Saturn. This diagram depicts Kepler's cosmological theory, based on the Copernican system, in which the five regular polyhedra dictate the structure of the universe and reveal God's plan through geometry. This was the first attempt since Copernicus to prove that the theory of heliocentrism (planets orbiting the sun) is physically true. Kepler wrote, "I believe it was by divine ordinance that I obtained by chance that which previously I could not reach by any pains.” Bolster was interested in how conditioning, religious or otherwise, can sometimes block the path to observation, Kepler as a figure was trained as a cleric, and tried to justify heliocentrism through passages in the Bible, which were formerly used to validate geocentrism. He moved away from astrology and mysticism to write his Laws of Planetary Motion (planets move in ellipses).

7 This diagram illustrates Copernicus’s heliocentrism, where the Earth and the other five known planets orbiting the sun, as opposed to the former idea of the reverse. Only six planets had been found at that point in time. From his observations, Copernicus concluded that every planet, including Earth, revolved around the Sun. He also determined that the Earth rotates daily on its axis, and that the Earth's motion affected what people saw in the heavens. Copernicus did not have the tools to prove his theories. By the 1600s, astronomers such as Galileo would develop the physics that would prove he was correct. Copernicus died on May 24, 1543.

8 Appropriated NASA image of Apollo 11 astronaut, Buzz Aldrin. Fifty years ago, the world stopped for a brief instant to witness the Moon landing, the first instance in which humanity set foot on another body in our solar system. Buzz Aldrin, lunar module pilot, walks on its surface near the leg of the Lunar Module "Eagle" during the Apollo 11 extra-vehicular activity. Neil A. Armstrong, commander, took this photograph. While they descended in the Lunar Module to explore the Sea of Tranquility region of the Moon, astronaut Michael Collins, module pilot, remained with the Command and Service Modules (CSM) "Columbia" in lunar orbit.

9 Image of the Golden Record cover, sent on Voyager in 1977, which is continuing to travel through the Universe. It contains music, spoken word and art images. It presents the first instance of culture traveling as a diplomatic effort to life on other planets. In the upper left-hand corner is a drawing of the vinyl record. The stylus packed with it, which is placed in the correct position to play the record. Below is a side view of the record and stylus, with a binary number giving the time to play one side of the record. On the lower left-hand corner of the cover is the pulsar map previously sent as part of the plaques on Pioneers 10 and 11, showing the location of the solar system with respect to 14 pulsars, whose precise periods are given. The drawing containing two circles in the lower right-hand corner is a drawing of the hydrogen atom in its two lowest states. Once the Voyager spacecraft leaves the solar system, it will be forty thousand years before it makes a close approach to any other planetary system.

10 Kepler 16b is referenced throughout this exhibition, as it is one of the Earthlike planets said to be in the Goldilocks Zone, where life could be sustained. This image samples a NASA sci-fi poster predicting intergalactic tourist travel to Tatooine aka kepler 16b. NASA/JPL strive to be bold in advancing the edge of possibility so that someday, with the help of new generations of innovators and explorers, their visions of the future can become a reality.