Harmony of the Spheres
My photographs are the result of my inquiries into the ways that we as a species grapple with the unknown and our relationship to the Universe, particularly as those inquiries delve into the realms of science and the cosmos. In Harmony of the Spheres, I follow in the footsteps of thinkers throughout millennia seeking order in the movement of the stars and planets, embracing how the quest for order in the Universe as it relates to myriad other fields of study, ranging from music, to numerology, to representation of music and the cosmos in art, and to modern cosmology and beyond. I create each photograph in Harmony using as raw materials photographs of one night’s performance of the night sky, and then create pieces from a series of completed photographs.
Many ancient thinkers seeking to find order in the Universe, starting with the Greek philosopher Pythagoras and continuing for over two thousand years, believed that celestial objects such as the sun, moon, visible planets, and stars moved above and around the Earth in a series of rotating celestial spheres. The movement of these spheres created celestial music as each rotated in harmonious relationship with the others. This music of the spheres as they revolved about the earth in sublime harmony also influenced Earth-bound aspects such as music, processes from nature, and even the human soul. The quest to understand the sublime motion of the heavens above was thus seen as the key to unlocking the mysteries of life on Earth and was in many ways the impetus behind both modern music theory and the fundamental idea of scientific inquiry.
Even the realization by early scientists such as Copernicus and Kepler that the Earth was not the center of the Universe did not shake a belief in the music of the spheres, but instead resulted in modification of the idea to place the Sun in its more rightful place. Kepler also tried to use his greater understanding of the movement of the celestial bodies than his predecessors to synthesize music, astronomy, astrology, and epistemology, in spite of data suggesting that they could not be reconciled, all in an attempt to find a celestial order. Harmony of the Spheres is my own attempt to visually synthesize and celebrate the search for cosmic order.