ALMA hosts monumental golf ball installation

25 June, 2015

The ALMA observatory recently had its first art exhibit, which was on display alongside the antennas at an altitude of 5,000 meters above sea level on the Chajnantor Plateau: a golf ball of enormous proportions. This inflatable work of art is part of a traveling project named Juego Mixto (Mixed Game) by Dagmara Wyskiel [1], a Polish artist who has lived in Antofagasta, northern Chile, for over a decade.

After the giant ball completes its journey through the Atacama Desert, it will roll on to Grey Glacier in Magallanes and then to the shores of Valparaiso.

“Mixed Game involves the introduction of an enigmatic but at the same time visually synthetic object into diverse open spaces in the landscape,” explains the artist, who is responsible for a production related to contemporary art, graphic design, art education and cultural development. Dagmara Wyskiel adds that “the object introduced suggests that something may have finally appeared in response to our intense and incessant probing and reception of waves from beyond. The problem is that it may not be exactly what we had in mind in response to our deep quest into the meaning of the Universe.”

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First Image: ALMA (ESO/NAOJ(NRAO), Alex Moya.  – Second Image: ALMA (ESO/NAOJ(NRAO), Dagmara Wyskiel

For many of the ALMA workers responsible for the daily maintenance of the 66 antennas of the astronomical observatory, the appearance of an enormous orb seemed, for a moment, to be an optical illusion or a dream. Moving in to get a closer look, the surprising nature of the object was revealed to them.

“This high-quality artistic production juxtaposes with cutting edge science to bring us a once in a lifetime opportunity and share these concepts with a new audience. In the end, both artists and astronomers must let their imagination run free if they wish to achieve their goals,” says Pierre Cox, director of ALMA.

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First Image: ALMA (ESO/NAOJ(NRAO), Pablo Carillo.  – Second Image:ALMA (ESO/NAOJ(NRAO), Paulo Araya

ALMA is the second intervention site for Juego Mixto. Before scaling the Andes mountains, it had already traversed on one of the driest place on Earth, the Quillagua Desert, and it will soon cross Patagonia and eventually travel out to sea. “From the nitrate mines in northern Chile, the ball will roll south and then back up towards Valparaiso. It is making a pilgrimage from the memory of the pampa to Chile’s historical port city, open to all the world, the gateway for everything and everyone who has come through. It is here, across from the harbormaster, where the golf ball will touch soil for the last time on this continent, as it sets sail for London, symbolically ‘returning home’ to where the story began,” tells the art proposal.

Notes

[1] Dagmara Wyskiel has a Masters in Art from the Academy of Fine Arts in Kraków, Poland. She has lived in New York, Tenerife and Frankfurt. In Antofagasta, she has undertaken a variety of initiatives, from both an associative perspective and individual artistic work, which have shaped the art scene in this northern town in Chile. She co-founded the Collective SE VENDE Mobile Contemporary Art Platform in 2004 with Christián Núñez, and is current president, and has developed various collective exhibits and encounters in Chile, including the Week of Contemporary Art in Antofagasta (SACO).

More information 

ALMA is a partnership of ESO (representing its member states), NSF (U.S.) and NINS (Japan), along with NRC (Canada), NSC and ASIAA (Taiwan), and KASI (South Korea), in cooperation with the Republic of Chile. The Joint ALMA Observatory is operated by ESO, AUI/NRAO and NAOJ.

Contact:

Valeria Foncea 
Education and Public Outreach Officer
Joint ALMA Observatory
Santiago, Chile
Tel: +56 2 467 6258
Cell: +56 9 75871963
Email: vfoncea@alma.cl