The World Machine

The World Machine is a collaboration between the Ordered Universe Research Project, the Institute of Computational Cosmology and Projection Artist Ross Ashton. The wonderful sound and light show was projected onto Durham Cathedral as part of Durham Lumiere Festival 2015.
This is the final, and beautiful, version of The World Machine, by Ross Ashton, with composer Isobel Waller-Bridge and sound engineer John del Nero. The collaboration, instigated by Professors Carlos Frenk (of the ICC) and Professor Richard Bower (of both the ICC and Ordered  Universe) with Dr Giles Gasper (Ordered Universe), provided a celebration of research into the modern and medieval universes. Grosseteste on the one hand, and Galaxy Modelling from the EAGLE project on the other. All, put together, and enhanced, by Ross and his team, to create the vision of the changes in the way the universe has been described, and the constant sense of awe and wonder it inspires.

More on the science and medieval history behind the show is available at the World Machine. The groundwork all took place over the summer of 2015, including undergraduate, postgraduate and post-doctoral students from Physics who helped with sections of the film, as well as work by Richard and Giles with Ross on the medieval imagery and textual elements from Grosseteste. The house composed of water, from Grosseteste’s First Letter provided some of the inspiration or the elemental section; it was the De luce above all, that provided the basis for the medieval aspects of the projection, and the title. This in addition to the use of the painted glass windows of the Cathedral and images of some local figures such as Cuthbert.

From the audience surveys carried out by Dr Thomas Ball and Dr Jo Puckering the World Machine certainly went down well with the audience – despite the heavy rain!
“I felt like I was moving through time, and I saw the planets. There was a sense of time movement.” “It really makes you think about the Universe.”
it’s like the Matrix”  “The people who built the Cathedral would love this.”
“I liked when it had the stained glass windows and St. Cuthbert… Mentally, just going through what it’s all about, it makes you work, it makes your brain work at what it is you’re seeing.”
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