Sh(r)ines
Series of objects created for “The Observatory” project at the Special Astrophysical Observatory of the Russian Academy of Science
Nizhny Arkhyz, Karachay-Cherkess Republic, Russia
2016

The Russian name of this project “Святилища” comes from two words: светило, a heavenly body that radiates light, and святилище, a sacred place or altar. I have built a number of objects that I placed on streets of the astronomers’ settlement. There are boxes with visual aids to demonstrate great events, such as the birth and death of stars and even entire galaxies. Mere mortals cannot comprehend such events in all their majesty. Emergence and death evoke a sense of awe just as they did hundreds of years ago. I would like to remind viewers of nature’s incomprehensibility and the mysteries that scientists still labor to unravel. My wall installations must become like lighthouses flashing in the darkness. But as the viewer approaches these strange sanctuaries, it will become impossible to plainly discern the source of the flashing light. That which is most interesting is hidden. These objects will resemble little street shrines, mailboxes (as top-secret scientific institutes were referred to during the Soviet period) or nativity scenes.