Dog’s Ball Constellation (2016)
This project aimed to explore the complexity of humanity’s place in the universe by highlighting the notion of the hyperobject and creating a surprising and playful juxtaposition two very different sets of things:
Firstly, the project focuses on an accumulation of balls (mostly dogs’ toys) found along the banks of a short stretch of the Yarra river near Abbotsford Convent in Melbourne. These balls, collected during the artist’s walks, are extremely beautiful (they have a strange resemblance to little planets), but also terrifying given their materiality as indestructible plastic and their extent in such a small area;
Secondly, the project highlights the recent discovery of planets outside our solar system by NASA’s Kepler project. Kepler has so far identified 2331 exoplanets and this heralds a new Copernican Revolution.
The project recontextualized the dogs’ balls as exoplanets and placed them in an orrery (mechanical model of a planetary system) of one of the Kepler project’s discovered solar systems (Kepler-452). Humorously drawing together and playing up the beauty and surprising existence of these objects and playfully alluding to a massive and incomprehensible gap between phenomenon and thing. This gap is a symptom of what what philosopher Timothy Morton calls the hyperobject and this project attempts to articulate the inarticulable nature of this notion. Articulating the local, the extraterrestrial, the global and the micro though a ridiculous conceit.
Of course the absurdity of this connection is very deliberate. The original meaning of absurd is “out of tune”, and the realisation that the materiality of something as simple as a dog’s ball has become so dangerous in its global accumulation is absurd. Just as absurd as the idea that outside this humble planet we call home, there are thousands and most likely billions of planets – many just like ours.