Astronomía Periférica – art & astromomy, Colombia

Project leader: Dr. Jaime Forero-Romero

Follow the project here:

Astronomía Periférica is a project aimed at bringing the poetic force of astronomy into the periphery of Latin-American cities. Our tools are art, design and science. The project is embodied in three interdependent activities with one common concept: observation. Our target public are those who do not have immediate access to the established centers of astronomical knowledge (museums, universities, planetariums.) The hierarchical transmission of knowledge is a hurdle in stimulating people into taking responsibility for exploring, understanding and challenging the world we live in. aThese hierarchies are promoted by the academic and scientific establishment. Through a more open-ended process and without explicit knowledge hierarchies, artistic experimentation offers a way to overcome this problem. Another caveat with traditional outreach activities is the limited scope of the target population. It leaves out the people without time, physical and cultural resources to visit the knowledge centers (school, museum, planetarium). The artistic experience is a medium to lower that barrier and engage people, making them feel part of a world that often sends the opposite message by excluding them from knowledge circuits. The core team behind Astronomía Periférica is composed by two artists (Luis Bustamante and Alejandro Tamayo) and one astrophysicist (Jaime Forero-Romero). Each member will take the lead of a different activity, while keeping a collaborative edge through the project.

The working titles of the three activities in Astronomia Periferica are: ‘Beyond Satelistica’, ‘Macrocosmos and Domestic Microcosmos’ and ‘Notebook Universe‘ . ‘Satelistica’ (led by Luis Bustamante) deals with sonorizations and visualizations of satellite observations; ‘Macrocosmos and Domestic Microcosmos’ (led by Alejandro Tamayo) uses household items to create sculptures that remind us that we live in a rotating planet traveling a great speeds through the Universe; ‘Notebook Universe’ (led by Dr. Jaime Forero-Romero) is a year-long project that focuses on amateur drawing of naked eye and small telescope observations.

We will implement the project in Bogotá, Colombia, using a setup that could be useful in other similar Latin-American cities such as Medellín, Quito, Lima or Caracas. Astronomia Periferica will take place during the year 2013. The project will be hosted by Universidad de los Andes. Additional support and advice will be provided by the following external team members: Lucia Ayala (art historian), Javier Moreno (mathematician and writer), Manuel Santana (artist), Pilar Becerra (astronomy outreach expert); and the following institutions: Museo de la Ciencia y el Juego (Museum for Science and Play) and the Observatorio Astronomico Nacional.

22 April 2013 – here is one of the first videos from the project!