20060212

The celestial mechanics
of mundane contraptions

"'Celestial Mechanics' is a planetarium artwork being created by Scott Hessels and Gabriel Dunne. Rather than a presentation of stars and planets, this 'night sky' program reveals many of the aerial technologies hovering, flying, and drifting above us. This project combines science, statistical display, and contemporary art by interpreting the mechanical patterns and behaviors of these systems as culturally significant poetics...

"At any given moment, there can be 30,000 man-made objects in the sky above us: Planes, helicopters, satellites, weather balloons, space debris, and other diverse technologies. They watch, they guide, they protect, they communicate, they transport, they predict, they look out into the stars.


"Our lives are closely tied to these networks in the sky, but a disjunction has occurred between us and the aerial technologies we use every day. We rarely consider the hulking, physical machines that have now become core to our lifestyle. By not being aware of the hardware we use every day, we may also not be aware of the social, economic, cultural, and political importance of these technologies. By visualizing them, it may lead to a better understanding of the forces that are shaping our future."

See also: Flight Patterns, which presents visualizations of air traffic patterns provided by the FAA.

All these items floated my way from the Moon River.