Neoasterisms Exhibition

Exhibition and print design for Neoasterisms, participatory project by Space Caviar (Joseph Grima and Tamar Shafrir) taking place at the Planetário Calouste Gulbenkian, in Lisbon on the occasion of Experimenta’13.

It sets out to re-examine humanity’s age-old relationship with the stars, the language we use to describe them, and the influence of astronomical conventions on contemporary culture from a 21st-century perspective.
Neoasterisms invites participants from all over the world—either in person or via the web platform wikistars.org to propose new constellations, submit their own mythologies, and rediscover lost astronomical traditions that were set aside when the global standard of celestial nomenclature was introduced by the International Astronomical Union in 1922. It is an attempt to question the largely Western and Eurocentric nature of contemporary astronomy’s cultural baggage.

If we started from scratch, if we looked at our starscape as a tabula rasa, what new constellations would we draw in 2013—in an era of borderless interaction, the simultaneous diversification and homogenisation of culture, and the proliferation of networks throughout society? What myths from distant cultures would we choose to revive as emblems of our own value system? Which artifacts or figures would we elevate to mythic status? What marginalised narratives would be unearthed? And how would we find resolution between independent voices in a process of global decision-making? Neoasterisms is an attempt to build a framework for the collaborative inscription of the ideals, fears, and dreams of a new civilisation.

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photo credits: Ben Landau, Nuno Moreira.