Leaves of Stars, 2012-2014

July 9th, 2012. 17:45. RA 23h 25m 36s DEC -29° 20’ 36’’.

1.5 x 27 x 21 cm 2012

Leaves of Stars/Estrellas de la hierba

María Fernanda Barrero Ademe

 

 

These two pieces are the first approach to the project Leaves of Stars/Estrellas de hierba using Star Walk Application. This software allows ipad users to locate celestial objects by creating an image aligned with the sky responding to the exact user’s location, body movement, and time.  While first attempting to use this application to align common and oblivious grass under my feet, I could not help being surprised at the breathtaking (and evident) fact of finding stars “under” myself. Therefore many of these pieces were made in pairs, trying to spatially respond to this easily forgotten fact that space has no up or down, and that many things of our world, being minute or massive, remain invisible and forgotten in our daily lives. 


These two first images were taken on the 9th of July, 2012 at 5.45 pm in my studio.  The grass found in this specific location (an empty and forgotten plant vase in my studio) was replicated in white paper and aligned with the stars found in the Starwalk App. The first piece pictures an upward looking image aligned to the Leo constellation, Mercury, Mars, Saturn and parts of Coma Berenices, Hydra, Leo Minor and Sextans constellations. The second piece corresponds to the Sculptor constellation (which I also happened to discover under my feet during the next two followings months), Neptune, Uranus, the Moon, as well as parts of the Psicis Austrinus, Grus, Phoenix and Aquarius constellations. 

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July 9th, 2012 . 17:45. RA 11h 01 m 27 s Dec +14 ° 24’ 37’’

 1.5 x 27 x 21 cm. 2012

details

The following two pieces correspond to a pair of sky images taken during the 9th of July, 2012 at 5:51pm just outside my studio under an old tree. The upward looking image is lined up with Ursa Mayor, Mercury and parts of Canes Venatici, Leo Minor, Leo, and Coma Berenices constellations. The downward looking piece is matched again to the Sculptor constellations, also including Piscis Austrinus, Grus, Aquarius, Uranus, Neptune, and the Moon.  These are the first pieces with scored elements on paper. 

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Under the Old and Sick Tree, 2012

1.5 x 27 x 21 cm.

Over the Old and Sick Tree, 2012

1.5 x 27 x 21 cm

These next set of works now includes the dictionary definitions of grass and star, in Spanish and English, as well as other celestial elements scored or punctured with there exact image locations onto the paper surface.

 

These Starwalk App images were taken on October 25th, 2012 at 1:07 pm at my studio and are aligned with the grass found within another pot.  The upward looking image pictures mainly Virgo and the star Arcturus in the Bootes constellation —the third brightest start of our Northern night skies— together with the Sun, Venus, HR5694 and other elements. The downward image includes the Cetus constellation, and other planets, constellations fragments and satellites.

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This work is based on two maps, a local “grass” map, and a Starwalk sky map elaborated on September 17th, 2012 at 3.30 pm. A piece of land containing ignored grass under the carefully trimmed roses of a garden was framed and all the contained tiny plants were registered in a self-drawn map. These replicated paper plants and their locations were then placed in a paper surface scored with the constellations located exactly under this position. 

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Detail

Map of stars and grass under a garden, 2012

50 x 64.5 x  2.5 cm

Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass has been a Strong influence for this project. Many of his poems lines referring to stars or grass were scored into the surface of this paper among the October night sky map with star magnitudes, and a “punctured” Milky Way. Paper grass was aligned with the stars of biggest magnitude. 

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October night stars, 2012

50 x 64.5 x  2.5 cm

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This featured paper piece works on two opposing Starwalk App images: a sunrise and a sunset taken on November 15th, 2012 at 7:00 am and 5.53 pm.  In both cases, the Sun, Serpens Caput constellation and other celestial elements are shown twice within the monochrome image, scored into the paper surface along with “punctured” stars and the Milky way. This layered white piece also includes a paper cutout of a world map featuring the American Continent and a group of paper miniature plants layout in the space my full left hand occupied on the paper surface.

 

The title of the piece is a quote from Gaston Bachelard’s The Poetics of Space, a book that has had a profound impact on my sculpture practice.  So, in a certain way, this work attempts to bond different landscapes that exist invisibly within our daily lives.

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Far off I heard the springs of earth praying* , 2012 
69 x 44.5 x 2 cm

 

* “Au loin j’entendais prier les sources de la terre”. Pantocchi, Pericle. Vingt Poèmes. apud Bachelard, Gaston. The Poetics of Space. Beacon Press. Boston. 1994. p. 177.

Detail

Up and down has been a basic location axis within this project, not only as geographic parameters, but also as bodily movements that relate the self with space and other elements that coexist within it. This paper piece includes two Starwalk App images —taken on November 15th, 2012 at 5.46 pm at my studio and showing the Cygnus and Vela constellations:  images looking upward and downward, together with two cutout opposing maps of the world, making reference to the antipode dialog between dichotomies such as up and down, the miniature and the massive, or far and near.

The title of the piece is also a quote from Paul Eluard from the book The Poetics of Space. 

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When the peaks of our sky come together/ My house will have aroof, 2012

50 x 64.5 x  2.5 cm

This piece and Sky on Earth explore the relationship between two apparently antagonist elements, earth and sky, and their life potentialities. The included texts are fragments of Earth’s definition in English and Spanish together with descriptive data of our planet such as radius or weight. A punctured image of Western and Eastern hemispheres floats along with small flora. These plants are aligned with exoplanets located in a map of our sky overlapped along these images. On the lower edge, a small paper house lays open wandering about Paul Eluard’s verse “When the peaks of our sky come together/ My house will have a roof.

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Earth on the Sky, 2013

21 x 27 x 1.5 cm

Inspired by the phrase “I am not this body” from the Indian Saint Anandamayi ma, this paper work (together with its companion) contemplates on the different ways in which different traditions (such as Hinduist, Judeo-Christian or Buddhist) construct and understand the self, the individual, and the body. This image includes the cutout negative of the mentioned phrase together with fragments of the definition of self in English and Spanish, a punctured and scored image of the day in which the author was born and small grass aligned as it was found in front of the author’s studio. 

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The Being of Illusion, 2013

21 x 27 x 1.5 cm

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Along with its companion, The being of illusion, this work examines the phrase “I am not this body”. One finds here the cut letters taken out from the other piece and inserted in this piece in its positive and opposite meaning: “I am this body”.  A Starwalk photograph of the sky under the author’s feet on the day she was born is scored into the paper’s surface. The piece also includes small paper replicas of plants found outside the author’s studio, a cutout satellite, and fragments of the Hinduist concept of Anattā, which refers to the illusion of the self. 

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The Illusion of Self, 2013

21 x 27 x 1.5 cm

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This paperwork along with Your Light Within Me, explores the idea and construction of the other, the I and the you. The dictionary definitions of these big words are quite reduced and simplified. The English definition of you and the Spanish definition for I (yo) are scored on this paper, along with Deleuze’s and Guattari’s formula pondering on the relation between the individual and the other in their book A Thousand Plateaus (x = y).

 

The scored Starwalk image (including the constellation of Sagittarius, planets and stars) corresponds to the birth date of the author’s former partner, considered at that moment “the closest other”. Both silhouettes are autobiographic: the positive and the negative are an exchange of individuals and stars (considering that Your Light Within Me portrays the author’s birthdate stars). Small grasses and a plane travel along the paper surface. 

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My Light Within You, 2013

21 x 27 x 1.5 cm

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This work along with My Light Within You, investigates the construction and notion of the other, the I and the you. It is important to observe that the dictionary definitions of I and you are quite simple and scarce considering the self and the other are such important aspect of humankind. This paper piece contains the English definitions of I and me, and the Spanish definition of you along with two formulas from the book A Thousand Plateaus by Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari which also explore the relation between the individual an the other (you = me,  …+y+z+a…).

The Pisces constellation, the starts and planets among the sky at the author’s birth date are scored and punctured into the paper. Above this one can see a double silhouette of the author.  The cutout form this paper was exchanged with the cutout Your Light Within Me. Therefore both silhouettes, positive and negative are united both as a personal and star exchange. The stars form the piece Your Light Within Me correspond to the person that was considered at the moment “the closest other”, the birth date of the author’s former partner. A scored image if the author’s fingerprint envelops the negative figure. Small grasses and a bird cutout travel on the paper’s surface. 

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Your Light Within Me, 2013

21 x 27 x 1.5 cm

Life and Flora along with Life and Fauna explore the deep bond between life generating cycles in the macrocosms and microcosm, between water and life. This image includes a typical primary school description of the characteristics of life in English together with a Starwalk photograph of the Cancer constellation emerging from the sea. Cancer is a Greek symbol for life regeneration. A plant cell diagram and plant paper replicas float on the paper surface. This piece is inspired in the books Symbiotic Planet by the biologist Lynn Margulis and We are blue by the oceanographer Sylvia Earle. 

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Life and Flora, 2013

21 x 27 x 1.5 cm

Life and Fauna, along with Life and Flora explore the deep bond between life generating cycles in the macrocosm and microcosm, between water and life. Three texts appear on the paper surface. The first one corresponds to a text form Sylvia Earle (“Without the blue, there is no green: there is no life on Earth. The blue, water, is the key to life”). The second one,  “somos aguas animadas” (we are animated waters), refers to the Hypersea theory discussed in the book Symbiotic Planet  by Lynn Margulis. This theory proposes that when life came out of the sea and developed on earth had to “take the sea within itself” to survive. The third text corresponds to the definition of life in Spanish. Among these texts float punctured stars and a scored Cancer constellation emerging from the sea (Cancer is the Greek symbol for life regeneration). An animal cell diagram, a spider, fish and bird cutouts are also present elements. 

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Life and Fauna, 2013

21 x 27 x 1.5 cm

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The Aquarius constellation over de sea line is pouring his water in the bay of Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. This image taken with the Starwalk application on March 23, 2013 is overlapped with a diagram of water’s structure in a liquid state and its definition in English. It also aligns small plants with planets in the astronomic image and particles of water’s molecular structure, therefore playing with geometric parallelisms between stars and atoms. 

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The Liquid that Descends from Clouds, 2012 
21 x 27 x 1.5 cm

Detail

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This piece explores water and its links to the life network and the macrocosm. It includes a photograph if the sky in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico on March 23, 2013 with the constellation of Aquarius, the water bearer, pouring his waters on the sea; the definition of water in Spanish; its chemical name in English; the structure of water in solid state; cutout images of a marine storm and a small sailboat; together with a diagram of a water molecule aligned with the Aquarius constellation and small plants in each electron and atomic nucleus position. 

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Hydrogen oxide, 2012 
21 x 27 x 1.5 cm

Detail

The Milky Way, this immense group of stars embraces us within in while traveling through the universe. This piece overlaps an image of our galaxy as seen from the Earth (our only real perspective) together with a recreation of its shape. In this case the stars of both perspectives are united with the definition of galaxy in Spanish and the definition of Milky Way in English. On the bottom of the piece two elements hold the image down to Earth while extending towards the sky: a mountainous landscape and an image of the primordial home inspired by Gaston Bachelard’s Poetics of Space. Other air elements float on the paper’s surface while (mentally) connecting us to the sky: a satellite, a plane, clouds and birds. 

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A Diffuse Band of Light Through our Sky, 2013

21 x 27 x 1.5 cm

When the waves touch the seashore sand, they leave behind the trace of their wave, and water bubbles generate small holes. A photograph of this natural phenomenon was intersected with a Starwalk image with Pisces constellation, the Sun and other planets emerging from the sea line. The poem “El mar es hondo y su horizonte es amplio”, by the local poet Gerardo Puertas, floats between this minute and immense stars, and small marine paper replicas inhabit the paper’s surface. 

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The Deep Ocean, 2013

21 x 27 x 1.5 cm

The project Perpetual Ocean from NASA generated a world ocean currents animation based on satellite images. A still from this project is used in this piece: it illustrates the ocean currents that surround Mexico. Among them small schools of cutout fish and ocean plants attempt to follow the currents. This image also includes the definition of ocean and a Starwalk picture of Aquarius (the Water Bearer’s constellation) pouring his waters upon the ocean image. This photograph was taken in Puerto Vallarta Bay, Mexico while the Aquarius constellation was placed just above the sea line.

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Our Perpetual Ocean, 2013

21 x 27 x 1.5 cm

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Miniature replicas of marine flora and the Spanish definition of sea are overlapped over a Starwalk image with Pisces constellation emerging from the sea. This photograph was taken in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico overlapping both the astronomical elements and the real sea. On top of these elements floats a punctured image of our planet as seen from the Pacific Ocean perspective, one that makes evident that our Earth is predominantly blue.  The image was taken from the book We are Blue by Sylvia Earle, where she confirms the deep and commonly ignored bond between water, sea, and life. 

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Water, sea and life, 2013

21 x 27 x 1.5 cm

This work is the result of a specific experience, location, and time: a trip to the waterfall Las Chorreras at the Rincón de la Vieja Preservation Area in Costa Rica. The piece includes ferns and grass found at the location, the time, and geographic coordinates. A Starwalk image included shows the Sun, Mercury, and the Hydra constellation among other celestial elements. The rugged paper surface attempts to replicate the rock where the plant specimens were found. 

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Between water and stars, 2013

21 x 27 x 1.5 cm

Between water and stars, 2013

21 x 27 x 1.5 cm

Between water and stars, 2013

21 x 27 x 1.5 cm

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