Format 1: 202 x 132 cm / 79.5 x 52 in, edition of 6 + 2 AP
Format 2: 102 x 67 cm / 40.2 x 26.3 in, edition of 6 + 2 AP
Hybrid photography, archival pigment print, aludibond, diasec, custom-made aluminium frame
The work pictures the largest astronomical radio telescope on earth. China built this staggeringly large instrument called the “Five hundred-meter Aperture Spherical Telescope” in the remote and barely accessible southern mountainous region of the country. Inaugurated in 2016, the telescope was constructed in a natural sinkhole surrounded by the extraordinary mountains of the Pingtang valley. The telescope has an incredible diameter of 500 m. The surface is made of 4450 triangular metal panels shaped to the form of a geodesic dome. It can be tilted by computer to change the focus on different areas in the Universe. Radio telescopes use a large parabolic dish to collect radio waves from distant sources such as pulsars, black holes and gravitational waves. However, one of the main objectives of the instrument is to detect interstellar communication signals – picking up signals from alien civilizations.
The composition of the artwork “f.a.s.t.” focuses on the relationship between the natural environment and the cutting edge astronomical instrument which for the viewer evokes a sublime experience simply because of its overwhelming size and proportions in relation to the surrounding mountains. This relationship also extends from the ground to the distant stars in the sky. The artist was privileged to be given a unique opportunity to portray this extraordinary and unique astronomical instrument usually inaccessible to photographers. Searching for alien life means searching for the source of life in general and confronting a fundamental question facing humankind: where do we come from? Imagine that one day the first extraterrestrial communication signals will hit the surface of this spherical telescope. The inconceivable size of “f.a.s.t” is also a metaphor for the immeasurability of time and space which ranges from our own birth to the birth of the Universe itself.