Fresh from its US premiere at the Napa Lighted Art Festival, California, Horizon created by The Projection Studio in collaboration with Ordered Universe, and using imagery from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, NASA, receives its European premiere in the coming week at the Light Up Poole Festival. The show, elaborates Grosseteste’s treatises On the Sphere and On the Six Differentiae. The former, composed between 1215 and 1220 deals with issues connected to the sphericity of heaven and earth, celestial and terrestrial co-ordinates, the duration of the day with respect to the Sun, the ascension of the Zodiac, climate and the effects of solar eccentricity, trepidation of the equinoxes, and finally the Moon, and Solar and Lunar Eclipses. The latter, composed probably in the first half of the 1220s, deals with a specific issue Grosseteste found with the interpretation of Aristotle, particularly with the notion of the horizon, and with definitions of direction (Up, Down, Left, Right, Backwards and Forwards). Both treatises inspired and informed the creation of the projection show. How it will all look on St James’s Church can be seen in the mock-ups featured here alongside medieval images of the world, illuminated illustration from manuscripts of Grosseteste’s On the Sphere from the British Library, and stills from a simulation of the treatise by Jack Smith (University of Oxford).
A new show from the Projection Studio, Zenith, also receives its premiere at the Festival. This work, which takes the form of an internal projection within St James’s provides a different perspective on the two treatises, and the inheritance in medieval Europe and traditions of astronomy from the Ancient World and Medieval Islamicate. It’s a great privilege to be working with Karen Monid and Ross Ashton of The Projection Studio, in a different venue, with different challenges, and different audiences. Projection art is a wonderful medium to explore the complexity of Grosseteste’s thought, and something of the strangeness in the encounter with ideas formulated eight centuries ago. The aural and visual experience of the projection is immersive, reflective, fascinating and beautiful; which is our experience too of studying the treatises, their context and content. To be able to bring this to so many diverse audiences is extraordinary. We are very grateful to Libby Battaglia, the Festival organiser, for the invitation to participate – and can’t wait to see Poole lit up!
Images courtesy of Ross Ashton, Bibliothèque Nationale de France, British Library and Jack Smith.