Observing the Observers…

The Compton Gallery, MIT

Feb 19 - Jun 16, 2000

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Cambridge, MA [Feb 2000] • For the past three years, Susan Gamble and Michael Wenyon have been using the imaging technology of astronomy to record the work of astronomers at MIT's Haystack Observatory in Westford, Massachusetts. With digital cameras, mapping techniques, and holography, Wenyon & Gamble have investigated the visual environment of the Observatory, creating works that reflect the human and cosmic aspects of the scientists' world.

The works, presented in the forthcoming exhibition Observing the Observers..., include a 16-foot panorama taken by a camera attached to the 120-foot dish of the radio telescope. In collaboration with the telescope operators, the artists directed the instrument to map out the architecture of its own structure, a geodesic dome now flattened onto paper to reveal the repeating pattern and geometric nature of its engineering.

The exhibition will also include holograms, radar maps of the moon made for Apollo, and other astronomical images selected by the artists from the Observatory's archives. A color catalog will be available with an essay by Debra Bricker-Balken based on interviews with the artists and the astronomers.

The artists have worked in two previous observatories, The Royal Greenwich Observatory UK, 1986-86, and the Royal Observatory Edinburgh, 1993–94. Their work has been shown at the Whitney Museum, New York (1991), The Art Tower, Mito, Japan (1992), the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, and most recently at the Boston Athenaeum, 1998. They were awarded a UNESCO prize for the aesthetic development of new technology in 1993.

The MIT Office of the Arts, the MIT Haystack Observatory, and the LEF Foundation have supported Wenyon & Gamble's residency.

MIT Museum's Compton Gallery is located under the main MIT dome at 77 Massachusetts Avenue in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Hours are 9-5 Monday-Friday. Admission is free.
Press Release issued by the MIT Museum Compton Gallery
Feb 19 - Jun 16, 2000