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'Moon-shot' collides art and science

Art and science might not seem like natural bedfellows but there have been several initiatives in recent years to merge science communication with creative endeavours. Recently one of these cross-disciplinary endeavours, SunSpaceArt, found a home in the medieval surroundings of Ely Cathedral in Cambridgeshire.

Funded by STFC, SunSpaceArt (SSA) was part of the Ely Cathedral Science Festival, which ran from May 18 to June 9 with the theme ‘The Sky’s the Limit’. The exhibition showcased the work of Helen Schell – a Sunderland-based artist and SSA team member who specialises in large space exploration-themed art projects, often focussing on the Moon and the Sun.

The ‘Sky’s the Limit’ theme was selected by Ely Cathedral to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Apollo Moon landing and Helen Schell’s exhibit, titled ‘Moon-shot: Woman on the Moon’, was a natural fit.

The exhibition is made up of bold geometric paintings that incorporate optical effects and illusions designed to mimic the quirks of the lunar environment along with dramatic costumes depicting ideas of past, present and future lunar exploration. The clothing makes use of fluorescent and reflective materials (inspired by the natural glass that is formed when meteorite impacts melt lunar dust). The idea being that, when photographed, they look different from how they look to the naked eye. Clothing on show included ‘The Moon Rocket Dress’, ‘Beam Dress’, and ‘Midnight on the Moon.

The exhibit was shown along work by artist Luke Jerram (titled ‘Museum of the Moon’), Moon rocks from STFC’s ‘Borrow the Moon’ scheme, space suits and other space objects, as well as a variety of talks and events.

Together with SunSpaceArt organiser, Dr Helen Mason (a solar physicist from Cambridge University and STFC Fellow), Helen Schell led several public activities including a large Moon Village themed drop-in workshop, ‘A Night at the Cathedral’ and a family-orientated workshop about the Moon with three local schools. The workshops, which were partially funded by STFC, were well attended by teachers, parents and children and many of the visitors left stimulated, happy, and with lots of STFC leaflets and booklets about the Moon.

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Last updated: 20 June 2019


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