TechnologyObserving FacilitiesEducation and OutreachAbout Haystack

1995

Sun Drawings

Original Press Release
November 9, 1995

 

Art and science join hands at Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Haystack Observatory with the installation this month of the first component of the Global Sun Drawing by artist Janet Saad-Cook in the observatory's new library. The global Sun Drawing is a single, globe-encircling work of art brought to life through Saad-Cook's placement of permanent sun-activated sculptures, called Sun Drawings, in various public sites throughout the world. To connect the Sun Drawings into a unified work of art, Saad-Cook is incorporating a unique marker image that appears sequentially at each site in harmony with the earth's rotation and the daily sweep of sunlight.

The Haystack Sun Drawing is now open for public viewing, by appointment, at the Observatory in Westford, MA. As one of the world's leading astronomy research centers, the MIT Haystack Observatory is particularly appropriate for this first link in a global art work that relies on the cycle of the sun. Saad-Cook also plans permanent installations for public spaces in France, Australia, India and Japan as well as elsewhere in the United States.

Artist Janet Saad-Cook originated and developed the patented Sun Drawing process through 15 years of experimentation and research.. The results are sculptures of reflective elements (optically coated glass and mirrored metals) that interact with direct sunlight to cast gradually changing images onto interior surfaces. Each day as sunlight sweeps through the space and touches the reflective elements each one comes alive to reflect its own unique image onto the surrounding walls and ceiling, creating shimmering, multi-colored images that evolve and change moment-to-moment and season-to-season.

Saad-Cook is designing the largest Sun Drawing in this global work of art for the National Radio Astronomy Observatory's Very Large Array(VLA) near Socorro, New Mexico. The VLA Sun Drawing will consist of an enclosed sculptural chamber designed to direct sunlight inside onto hundreds of reflective elements, each one reflecting and transforming sunlight into images and colors that constantly change in harmony with the sun's cycle. Los Angeles-based architect Eric Owen Moss is collaborating with Saad-Cook on the design of the sculptural chamber.

As part of the Global Sun Drawing Saad-Cook is also designing an exterior marker system at the VLA that orients viewers to all positions on the earth where other global Sun Drawings are located. Her intent is to create an awareness of the greater, more profound implications of time and space, and of the intimacy and connection we all share through the sun/earth experience.


The artist's work has been exhibited in one-person museum shows throughout the country and has been the subject of numerous articles in national and international publications, including scientific journals. Saad-Cook lectures extensively about her work in the United States and abroad.

The MIT Haystack Observatory is operated for radio astronomical measurements by the Northeast Radio Observatory Corporation (NEROC), a non-profit educational consortium of twelve institutions in the northeast. The Haystack instrumentation consists of a 37m-diameter radio telescope inside a radome and a number of smaller telescopes. In addition to their active program in traditional radio astronomy, the Observatory also is one of the world's leaders in the application of Very Long Baseline Astronomy to both high resolution astronomy and precise geodetic measurements. Observatory staff members are also strongly engaged in several science education programs that span pre-college, undergraduate and graduate levels.

The Sun Foundation is a non-profit organization whose purpose is to promote charitable, scientific and educational activities that emphasize the connection between art and science. The production of the Global Sun Drawing is the Foundation's largest undertaking to date.

Janet Saad-Cook's art is represented in France, Italy and Spain by: Gabriella Gusso, Paris, Fax: (33) 1 45 56 00 69 and in Germany by: Constanze Frank, art exchange, P.O. Box 6726, Santa Fe, NM 87502 Phone/Fax: 505-466-4479

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