[ISEA2019] Artists Statement: Rebecca Cummins & Paul Demarinis – Moon Pointer

Artists Statement

Acrylic and digital prints, electronics, metal, 61x61x190.5 cm.

Where is the moon right now?

Moon Pointer is a slow-time kinetic sculpture that continually points at the moon, wherever it is located, whether above or below the horizon, in daylight or night, clear skies or overcast. A computer-controlled mechanism will calculate the current position of the moon as viewed from the city of Gwangju – and point to it. The pointer will describe a continual presence to the moon’s movement. Its design refers to the history of scientific instrumentation, the timing is incremental. It is formally and mechanically minimal – and calculated to perform the singular task of tracking the moon. By tracing the entire path of the moon’s complex movement, the Moon Pointer offers viewers a heightened awareness of their spatial and temporal place in the universe and a series of insights into the most frequently considered object of vernacular celestial observation.                                                                                                                                      The Moon Pointer consists of a computer-controlled mechanism that computes the location of the moon by accessing locally stored ephemeris data in accord with the current local time. The time is acquired by reference to a local real time clock module and checked against network time via a Wifi connection. The computers use these positions to run a set of motors that move their respective pointers to the correct azimuth and elevation. Photographic images (from NASA) accompany the Moon Pointer and depict the daily phases of the moon as seen at lunar transit from Gwangju for the period of the exhibition. A related version was commissioned by the Western Washington University and the Washington State Arts Commission.

Joint projects: Cummins / DeMarinis, Luna Drift: Sun and Moon Pointers and Light Reign:The 2006 Shanghai Biennial, Shanghai Museum; ISEA2004 at the The Museum of Contemporary Art KIASMA, Helsinki, Finland, the 2008 Biennial of Seville, Spain and a Washington State Arts Commission for Western Washington University, 2014.

  • Rebecca Cummins explores the sculptural, experiential and sometimes humorous possibilities of light and natural phenomena, often referencing the history of optics in installations that have included a machine for making rainbows, a photographic rifle, paranoid dinner-table devices – and a variety of sculptural and photographic approaches to marking time. Currently, she is utilizing microscopy in the Wordeman Lab, University of Washington. Cummins has exhibited widely internationally and has also completed several public art commissions. She is a Professor in the School of Art + Design + Art History, University of Washington, Seattle, WA, USA
  • Paul DeMarinis has been making noises with wires, batteries and household appliances since the age of four. One of the first artists to use microcomputers, DeMarinis has toiled since the 1970’s in the areas of interactive software, synthetic speech, noise and obsolete or impossible media. He has created installations, performances and public artworks throughout North America, Europe, Australia and Asia. He is a Professor of Art at Stanford University in California, USA