George Bolster, Tatooine: Sci-Fi Becoming Reality: Sirius Arts Centre, Co. Cork, Ireland

Sirius Arts Centre, Co. Cork, Ireland 19 September - 1 November 2019 
Sirius Arts Centre, Co. Cork, Ireland

Tatooine: Sci-Fi Becoming Reality
George Bolster
20 September – 01 November 2019

“We are the products of a billion-year lineage of wandering stardust. We, all of us, are what happens when a primordial mixture of hydrogen and helium evolves for so long that it begins to ask where it came from.” - Dr. Jill Tarter, Cosmologist and former Director of SETI Institute.

Sirius Arts Centre is delighted to present Tatooine: Sci-Fi Becoming Reality, an exhibition of work by New York-based artist George Bolster who grew up in Cobh. The works in the exhibition were developed during his multi-year residency at the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence Institute (SETI), and subsequent research with the Kepler Mission scientists from NASA Ames in Northern California. The two organizations share common goals, and by the end of the mission, it had identified over 2,662 planets with the aid of radio telescopes and space probes whose gathered information they decode and analyze. In 2019, as we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the first moon landing, Bolster questions what that “giant leap for mankind” could mean, as well as the philosophical implications for historic forms of belief and superstition.

You Are Made Of Stardust (2019) is a suspended mobile that echoes a cosmic array appearing above the heads of the viewer. Each of its starburst letters that spell out the title of the work are made visible through the reflection of light and silhouette, the phrase itself assembled in the mind of the viewer from perceived fragments rather than read as a whole. The work creates a parallel as to how the planets appear to us, and how we understand the solar system to be.

In his large-scale installation Our Life Mirrored by Two Suns: Kepler 16b (2018), a panoramic tapestry shown for the first time in the form of a three-meter high enveloping circle, Bolster depicts an imagined version of the planet, which was discovered by SETI scientist Laurence Doyle as part of the Kepler Mission on the 15thof September 2011. Observing that it was circumbinary (orbiting two suns of differing scales), previously thought to be physically impossible, Doyle contacted film director George Lucas, to ask if they could name the planet after Luke Skywalker’s fictional home planet Tatooine in the film Star Wars (1977) which is similarly orbited - Lucas agreed. Bolster’s digital image made from a composite of filmed images became subject to the analog technologies of warp and weft, which reassembled the image in woven form, and have necessarily become subject to approximation and interpretation. Kepler 16b, a planet that could support life, is shown housing radio telescopes from the Allen Telescope Array in California, which are in part, used by scientists to listen for artificial signals from life forms on other planets. The piece embraces the possibility, that we are on Earth are being listened to, as we are attempting to listen to and comprehend others across the gulf that is space.

On Saturday 21 September at 4.30pm Cork-based folk trio Fonn will perform an improvised response to the work. Free in, limited capacity. See here for more information.

Artist George Bolster was born in Cork in 1972. His recent solo exhibitions include:Towards A Universal Sublime, Bratislava, Slovakia (2018); Amazement Insulates Us All, Memento Vivere, The Lab, Dublin, Eire (2015); Un/natural History: Drowning Captiva, Nuit Blanche, Toronto, Canada (2014); High on Christ, Chung King Projects, Los Angeles, California, USA (2009); and sociodesic: a space for the three great loves, Galway Art Centre, Eire (2010). His recent group exhibitions include: Traveling to the End, MMCA, Seoul, Korea (2019); Music +Maker, Solstice Arts Centre, Navan, Eire (2019);In The Future, Collyer Bristow Gallery, London, UK (2018); Making Contact: SETI Artists in Residence, New Museum Los Gatos, California, USA (2016); Et si on s’était trompé?, Centre Culturel Irlandais, Paris, France (2015); Tulca: seachange, Galway, Eire (2015);/seconds, Sharjah Art Foundation, Sharjah, United Arab Emirates (2014); These Days: Elegies for Modern Times, Mass MoCA, Massachusetts, USA (2009). His recent residencies include: Centre Cultural Irlandais, Paris (2019); Elizabeth Foundation for The Arts, New York (2017); SETI Institute, Mountain View, California (2016-17); and the Robert Rauschenberg Residency, Captiva, Florida (2013). He has been awarded numerous grants from the Arts Council of Ireland, Culture Ireland and the Arts Council of England.