Leaning into the Dark: The Rubin Observatory as Cultural Metaphor

Rubin exists on the precipice of engineered possibility. It bears repeating, that it will enable us to unlock distantly knowable, and hopefully un-imaginable new details about the cosmos. But beyond these scientific delights Rubin lives a concurrent life within a historical continuum of special tools. These objects, rare in their maker’s mutual resolve to address audacious technical problems, inadvertently become cultural mediums through which we reboot our essential metaphors about being alive, discovery, shared endeavor, connection, and optimism for the future.  

The session speaker, Michael Jones McKean, the artist-in-residence of the Rubin Observatory, will introduce the residency by expanding upon this idea, while also mapping out space describing some of the generative overlap artists and scientists share in how they work; in effect searching for long, unsure stretches in the darkness of an idea, grasping for something still unknown.  

As the Rubin's artist-in-residency is being inaugurated, this session will be an opportune moment to begin sharing ideas and aspirations for how this new role might become valuable to the larger Rubin community. Session attendees will have ample opportunity to speak freely, ask questions, pose suggestions, and/or muse on historic successes and pitfalls of these sorts of interdisciplinary exchanges.

Michael Jones McKean, Associate Professor, Sculpture + Extended Media, Virginia Commonwealth University / Vera C. Rubin Artist-In-Residence

Thursday 08/11
3:30 - 5:00pm
Tortolita C

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