Moon Gallery: Test Flight to the International Space Station in 2022 organized by the Moon Gallery Foundation.
A collaborative project with physicist Justin Donnelly,"Like gold to airy thinness beat” was included in Moon Gallery: Test flight, an exhibition of 64 artworks from a selected group of international artists that was integrated into an 8 × 8 cm grid tray and launched to the International Space Station (ISS).
In partnership with Nanoracks, the Test Flight gallery was carried on board the NG-17 Northrop Grumman Cygnus resupply mission, launched on an Antares rocket and arrived at the ISS in February 21st 2022.
The Stichting Moon Gallery Foundation aims to provide a platform for interdisciplinary and international cooperation between art, science and technology. As humanity expands across the solar system, art will follow.
Ultimately, the Moon Gallery aims to send 100 artifacts to the Moon as early as 2025. This would be the first permanent museum on the Moon.
A copy of
'Like gold to airy thinness beat,'
was displayed at the
Armagh Observatory and Planetarium
with a QR code linking to a website that tracks the current position of the
Intenational Space Station
Photo credits: Moon Gallery Foundation, NASA & Nanoracks
It remained on-board the ISS until January 9th 2023, returning to Earth on the Space X CRS-26 Dragon spacecraft.
During it's time on the ISS, it made over 5,000 orbits of the Earth.
"Like gold to airy thinness beat” emerged from discussions between two people – one with a background in art, the other a background in science – who are both interested in where these areas overlap.
The title of the piece is taken the poem A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning written by John Donne. The central simile of the piece is in the sixth stanza.
Our two souls therefore, which are one,
Though I must go, endure not yet
A breach, but an expansion,
Like gold to airy thinness beat.
According to Donne, though the lovers are separated, their souls will expand like fine gold to maintain their connection across oceans.
“Like gold to airy thinness beat” evokes the new technology of fine solar sails. A solar sail allows a spacecraft to be propelled not by rocket engines, but by light itself. Once free of Earth, these vast sails will unfurl to catch the gentle pressure of sunlight and carry new ships across oceans of space to other worlds. These solar sail voyages have already begun. For example, The Planetary Society’s Lightsail 2 remained in orbit around the Earth from 2019 to 2022, and the IKAROS spacecraft which flew by Venus in 2010.
Publications and Interviews:
Visual Artists' News sheet May - June 2022
Members Profile|Like gold to airy thinness beat
Culture File RTE Lyric FM 17th Feb
Interview with Luke Clancy
Space and Things Podcast STP77
Interview with Dave Giles and Emily Carney
The Interplanetary Podcast #275
Interview with Matthew Russell
Here, gold leaf and shell gold combine with the image of a medieval square-rigged ship to echo the age-old hope of the traveller: that while they voyage across vast and lonely distances they will stay connected to what is important to them.
“Like gold to airy thinness beat” (2021)
11 mm x 8 mm x 3 mm.
Wood, paper, gold leaf, shell gold, resin.