Quasar is a collaborative project developed in association with SLAC (Stanford Linear Accelerator Centre) and the Kavli Foundation (Institute for Particle Astrophysics and Cosmology) at Stanford. The aim of this collaboration is to develop the more general concept of this art and science project as an idea model with the goal of proving the theoretical and practical basis and support of accessing astrophysical and exhibition-related data.
Quasar has evolved into an interactive space made from a light-emitting tubular system realized as a light-sound installation comprised of a dense array of interlinked optical components suspended across the gallery like a web. The gallery is fitted with sensors that draw real-time data from the installation and the people within the exhibition, which is then synchronized with streamed real-time data of solar activity and nuclear processes provided by SLAC and NASA. This information is then fed back into the object through layers of LED strands, re-visualizing the space in order to create an interactive spatial experience.
In the gallery space, a touch screen allows for a control-room like interaction with the exhibition. The space has vertically fitted piano sound cables and sensors that draw the ambient energy from within the gallery into the Quasar web. The sum of the various streamed inputs are converged to create the Quasar’s many life forms of sound and light effects, ranging from quiet breathing and pulsations, to moody outbreaks when challenged, or collapse when overcharged. The sound scapes take on the role of communicating a simulated and transformative physical body with the neural system evidenced through layers of wave-pulsations and field frequency activations creating an always changing and interactive momentary ephemeral-spatial construct.
Quasar is a contraction of quasi-stellar-radio-source, used to describe entirely unknown objects in outer space. Today, astronomers believe quasars are the most distant objects yet detected in the universe. They give off enormous amounts of energy, with the possibility of being extensively brighter than our solar system and producing their energy from massive black holes in the center of the galaxies in which the quasars are located.
The adoption of the name points to the idea of the physical demarcation of our known universe with the limits set to our epistemological horizon. Quasar defines an object connecting different scales, ranging from outer space to nuclear particles, with the human mindset in between these polarizing horizons. Working with interrelated scale lets synthetic and natural processes define the source of new emergent ecologies. Quasar questions the boundaries of scale and the psyche, offering immersion into a vastly expanded space that renders perception permeable, and in the end, disperses identity.
The Kavli Institute developed the stunning data visualizations of expanding uni- and multiverses made accessible for the Quasar show. SLAC’s communications office organized multiple interviews with scientists to develop Quasar’s theme and lend the extensive technology for out-of-space particle detection for the exhibition. Other teams worked out of New York, developing the various digital interfaces, while the Quasar brain technology was conceived and designed by MarkDavid Hosale in Santa Barbara. Glassshadows, Detroit and New York, developed the Quasar website and the acoustics were developed with Pieter Schlosser at Remote Control Production in Santa Monica.