Thursday, 13 June 2013

Memory and Migration Diptych

This diptych combines two images.  One of the region of space where Voyager was when it entered inter-stellar space and one of the migration routes from Africa to the Canary Islands, taken at night by the Suomi NPP sattelite (part of the Black Marble photograph). Together they appear to form one continuous starfield.

Migration and Memory Diptych, 2013
In October 2012 in the first stage of the From the Island project, Andrews and Verdugo travelled from London to the Roche de Los Muchachos Observatories on the Island of Santa Cruz de la Palma in the Canary Islands.  They were granted permission to use the Nordic Optical Telescope to take a photograph of the region of space where, somewhere in the blackness between the stars, the tiny space probe makes its momentous journey –taking mankind out of the confines of the solar system for the first time. This is the first time artists have used the telescope to take such a photograph.  It’s a testament to the management of the observatory to allocate this precious time to help to document a very special stage in man’s journey.

As Andrews and Verdugo took the photograph in La Palma the Suomi NPP satellite passed over head.  In its mission it orbits the Earth 14 times a day using its camera to take incredible photographs of light from the planet.  From an altitude of 500 kilometers it’s able to capture the light from isolated fishing boats as well as the intense light from the cities. In this region of the world the bright lights of the Canary Islands show strongly against the relative darkness of Africa.  As with the Voyager somewhere in the darkness between the lights are thousands of migrants making journeys towards the brightly lit cities of Europe.