|A graphic cosmic timeline, from the |
Big Bang to the present day
(Credit: NASA/WMAP Science Team)
My first instinct, the first images I imagined were something like the NASA spacetime diagram shown, which is a graphical representation of a lot of the major concepts of cosmology: the Big Bang, Inflation, the formation of galaxies and so forth and even dark energy and our current accelerated expansion... It's a great use of imagery to communicate science, but it's far too literal. It's a diagram, not a piece of art. So I turned to the figurative, imaginative, metaphorical, to avoid the trap of the literal.
|Turtles, All the Way Down, 11" x 14" (27.9 cm x 35.6 cm) |
linocut with chine-collé by Ele Willoughby, 2016
A well-known scientist (some say it was Bertrand Russell) once gave a public lecture on astronomy. He described how the earth orbits around the sun and how the sun, in turn, orbits around the center of a vast collection of stars called our galaxy. At the end of the lecture, a little old lady at the back of the room got up and said: 'What you have told us is rubbish. The world is really a flat plate supported on the back of a giant tortoise.' The scientist gave a superior smile before replying, 'What is the tortoise standing on?' 'You're very clever, young man, very clever,' said the old lady. 'But it's turtles all the way down!'— Hawking, A Brief History of Time, 1988
I've illustrated this expression with a variety of wonderful turtle species using collaged or chine-collé papers to show their various colours. From the top we have an eastern mud turtle (Kinosternon subrubrum), a red-eared slider (Trachemys scripta elegans), a black pond turtle (Geoclemys hamiltonii), a painted batagur (Batagur borneoensis), a Oaxaca mud turtle (Kinosternon oaxacae), a green sea turtle (Chelonia mydas) and the hint of something larger.
Those who've known me a long time will know that I've illustrated this concept before, I love turtles, am obsessed with origin myths and am rather found of zaratans. I am now wondering what, if anything, is the difference between a zaratan and an aspidochelone (incidentally, also encounted by none other than the Baron Munchausen, of course)?
The second piece I've submitted for COSMIC is Noh Spacetime. So it's metaphors all the way down.
|Ele Willoughby, 'Noh Spacetime', linocut 12" x 12", 2015|