When I Heard the Learn'd Astronomer by W. Whitman
When I heard the learn'd astronomer;
When the proofs, the figures, were ranged in columns before me;
When I was shown the charts and the diagrams, to add, divide, and measure them;
When I, sitting, heard the astronomer, where he lectured
with much applause in the lecture-room,
How soon, unaccountable, I became tired and sick;
Till rising and gliding out, I wander'd off by myself,
In the mystical moist night-air, and from time to time,
Looked up in perfect silence at the stars.
“Astronomy Inspiration” is one piece of a series of work showing in the artist’s solo exhibition ‘Mind Your Body’ at the end of 2011. This series of work presents barcode-like abstract images onto ceilinged space, floor or corner through anamorphic projection and invites audience to ‘look at the works’ in different gestures. When participants alter their angle of seeing – leaning towards the wall for “Knowledge reading gesture of Asia”, squatting down for “The wisdom of ants”, lying and looking up for “Astronomy Inspiration” or slanting their heads for “Flash of aura” - the contents hidden in transfigured images can then be read clearly. The artist plans various viewpoints and designs different gestures for viewers to perceive the messages that makes the participants’ actions and experiences becomes an important and indispensible element of this series. The artist operates Mise en scène not inside but outside the frame of projected images with audience’s body. The differentiated time and location, which is generated by viewers’ standpoints, may create development and change of the narrative of images.
The projection of “Astronomy Inspiration” intertwines a W. Whitman’s poem with a moving outer space animation. The poem indicates what the poet chooses between two very different ways of learning: rational academic theory (Astronomer) or sensational aesthetic philosophy (lying on lawns watching stars in the sky).