Distant Orbits was developed during a residency at Penrith Regional Gallery, where Fielden worked alongside astronomer Andrew O'Brien of Western Sydney University. The work emerged from their conversations about the structure of the universe, and the installation evokes scientific modelling of what we might see if we could look upon the universe as a whole from afar.
In our universe, we understand that dark matter filaments stretch weblike across space, pulled by gravity into clumps where stars, planets and galaxies are born. In this installation, a web of black linen thread stretches across the room like dark matter filaments, pulled into tension by magnetic clumps that seem to float in space. The blue projections placed around the room offer dim light, a sensory experience that is suggestive of the fall into night-time. The shadows present a two-dimensional version of the installation, hinting at an astronomer’s view of far off celestial bodies through the telescope.
Distant Orbits is a phrase from the poem 'When the Years Take the Stars Away' by the Australian poet Carol Jenkins. It is from her book Fishing in the Devonian, published byPuncher and Wattmann, 2008.
An image from the Millennium Simulation, a scientific model of the large scale structure of the universe, showing the distribution of dark matter (purple) and normal matter (gold).
TOP IMAGE: Distant Orbits, 2016, crushed ferrite magnets, linen thread, neodymium magnets, site specific installation filling a room 4m x 5m (Lewers House, Penrith Regional Gallery and The Lewers Bequest).