An Extraordinary Time » How We Got to Where We Are and How We Are Shaping Our Future

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Light and Shadows


Last weekend, 2,500 artists performed at Bumbershoot over four days including Dan Goods, an artist who works in NASA’s jet propulsion lab in Pasadena, CA. Good’s installation “Light and Shadows” was meant to teach people how NASA is going about finding planet’s around other stars than our own sun.

Good’s installation uses a powerful spotlight that shines against a big screen. At the same time he projects a movie against that screen which you can’t see because the light is so bright. But when people walk in front of the bright light, they can see the movie inside of their shadow on the screen.




Dan Goods, 30, Pasadena, CA.
“NASA’s going to have a mission in about 10 years that will look for earthlike planets around other stars and that’s really difficult because stars are really big and bright and the things that you’re looking for are really small and dim.

“I had a feeling people would originally just be intrigued by the bright light and their big shadows and then once they see the movie inside of their shadow try to figure out a little more what its about. As soon as the light is turned on its like a bunch of moths congregate around it and play around in the shadows and do all sorts of different types of things. Some of the people don’t care. They just want to see their shadow and other people, once they see the movie inside of their shadow they are intrigued a little bit more and they read the sign and they try and figure it more, and there are some people that will stay here for an hour or so playing with it and they seem to be really into it.

“To me this whole idea of trying to find planets around other stars is analogous to every person’s desire for community. Ever since the beginning of time there have been people who have gotten into tribes and into cities and organizations and its all because we all need community. In the same way if you’re alone inside of this installation you’ll only see a little tiny bit of the movie but as you grab your friends and get more people in there you see the whole of it. A lot of times it brings people together that would never normally associate because they notice if one person is standing in one part then they stand a little bit closer to them and another person stands closer to them, then they can see the whole image.

“The basic idea of , there’s a lot of things that are right in front of our face that we can’t see and that’s what this sort of shows is that there’s a light that we just can’t see it. And in the same way we’re trying to find planets and to me, that blows me away, that we’re trying to find a planet like earth around another star. From what we can tell they should be all over the place we just can’t see them. That’s because we just don’t have the right technology. Hopefully in the next 10 or 15 years we’ll have that technology and one day we’ll find another place we could possibly call home.

“Over 150 planets have been found around other stars already but all of them are Jupiter sized planets.”

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