There was a sense of excitement in the air as I arrived just in time for the talk. Getting a place at the back of the queue, I asked a man in front of me ‘Where are you from? Are you waiting for the artist talk too?’. He replied ‘Yes’ and ‘Australia’ quietly, which made me think "Wow!" about the unfold exhibition. The fact he’d travelled so far to see it amazed me - it must be good!
A combination of art and science followed as amazing photographs of space and the universe were shown on screen before and during the talk. The eminent artist Ryoichi Kurokawa, his translator and astrophysicist Vincent Minier were introduced to the audience. It was a full house and soon became a captive audience; Vincent Minier showed us a photograph of a supernova on the big screen and explained how the phenomenon takes just one second to occur.
The audience seemed to gasp in amazement as the formation of stars was explored alongside beautiful images. Particularly striking to me was a photograph of Earth with the sun in the distance, shining on the other side of the world so the UK and Europe were in darkness. I found this image most emotive and thought this must be the same view or very similar to what astronauts who landed on the moon must have seen. Vincent Minier said he found the formation of the stars emotive too.
Kurokawa said he was influenced by nature in his work as he spoke in Japanese and I listened to the quite mysterious language and eagerly awaited as it was carefully translated into English for the audience to understand.
Minier explained that the sun is being studied because it’s essential for life, which felt both poignant, emotive and quite amazing. Each scientific fact was accompanied by stunning photographs of space, taken by powerful telescopes which capture data, that the astrophysicist and artist then translate into images.
There was an interesting discussion and Q&A session following the talk, with a final comment on how none of this could have been possible 50 years ago - causing producer Nicolas Wierinck to concede that this is still a topic necessary for further space exploration.
Ryoichi Kurokawa's unfold, an exhibition exploring the birth of stars is on show at FACT until 12 June. Admission is free.