The exhibition “Cassini’s Dreams” was held at the Venice Biennale. It was an interactive installation that included painting and a virtual reality app. The installation featured an inflatable of Saturn being “read” in real time by a Cassini laser-to-audio system. This produced a rich audio experience, built from raw data and artistic interpretation of the two decades of Cassini’s tour. There she was our virtual eyes and ears on Saturn. As the probe swept past the gas giant it traveled above and below her rings. It swooped down on the moons and flew through the icy plumes to hover above methane oceans. It also zoomed past shepherd moons that guide ring particles in their orbits. Finally, as it it spied on the propeller moons it enables us to see their internal waves.
The Venice Biennale Painting
The paintings are also inspired by the rings of Saturn as they were seen by the Cassini. For this body of work China Blue utilizes the infrared color spectrum. We can not see in this color range but with China Blue’s usage of the palette she makes visible the invisible. She also cites this scientific application which helps researchers see photographic images in high detail.
The Discovery of the Sounds
The discovery of the sounds of Saturn’s rings was created for NASA by China Blue and Dr. Seth Horowitz. This audio became the bases of the sound art album, Cassini’s Dreams created with Lance Massey the creator of the T-Mobile ring tone. Click here to listen to the work.
The Venice Biennale Virtual Reality
The final element, the Virtual Reality app is a wayfinder that can be used in Venice to find the exhibition. It can also be enable those who are not able to attend to see it. Like Cassini’s search for the Saturn, the app enables everyone to personally explore Saturn and her rings with their phone.
This work is supported in part by the NASA/RI Space Consortium and Canada Council of the Arts. It is also supported by The Engine Institute a non-profit organization. The institute is dedicated to promoting artists working at the intersection of art, science and technology.
Lilly Wei, Art Critic says: “Cassini’s Dreams…a remarkable visual arts and sound project that is partly scientific and partly poetic”
Stephanie Jeanjean, Art Historian states: “as China Blue demonstrates…nothing is still nor silent. The void is filled with the sounds of in-commensurable invisible forces that can be heard by those who listen to them.”
Mat Kaplan of The Planetary Society says: The songs are both “beautiful and evocative.”