Pocket Cosmos

Exhibition: Curiocity Festival 2021
Location: City Botanical Gardens, Brisbane
Dates: 12th-28th March 2021

Collaborators: Cave Urban, Laura Jade & Leslie Marsh

Pocket Cosmos combines the work of Cave Urban and artists Laura Jade and Leslie Marsh to create a new visual and sensorial experience where visitors can learn about the mathematics and optical science of kaleidoscopes.

An intriguing Alang Alang woven obelisk standing in a park or city square offers an amazing scene to all those who enter its intimate confines — a personal view of infinity in the form of an ever-changing mosaic of light, colour, and movement. Even more astonishing, they will find themselves both at the center of this universe and utterly atomised by it.

Pocket Cosmos is, in reality, a giant vertical kaleidoscope – a mirror prism that transforms the surrounding environment into a firmament of light, colour and movement. Inspired by humanity’s predisposition for pattern recognition, the installation draws on the science of optics and light to explore the phenomenon of symmetry. The physical structure plays upon the geometrical patterns found in nature to give audiences a tactile and immersive experience.

The unique optics of the mirrors create an infinity room that alters the viewer’s perception of space through hundreds of kaleidoscopic reflections. When the viewer looks around at eye level, the entire cathedral-like structure creates an infinity room akin to a mirrored forest. By using mirrors that taper inwards like a triangular prism, a unique optical illusion emerges at the top of the structure. When looking upwards, the viewer will see a giant floating orb created out of reflections of the sky suspended around the triangular opening of the kaleidoscope. The orb has the appearance of a geometric sun with streams of colour beaming downwards towards the viewer. Narrow vertical lines of the prism’s edges create these sunbeams of colour that shoot out of the sphere.

From daylight to dusk, the kaleidoscope will reshape the natural world into a shifting orb of beautiful hues and patterns. At different times of the day, the colour of the sky, the movement of the clouds, and the angle of the sun will create a spectacular array of changing visual effects giving audiences a moment for contemplation and transformation.