LACMA is putting on artist Sarah Rosalena’s “Standard Candle” at the Mt. Wilson Observatory. In the new exhibition, she changes the dialogue around outer space through handiwork. The UC Santa Barbara professor of computational craft and haptic media wove elaborate tapestries and hand-beaded colorful gourds in conversation with some of the great discoveries made at the station.
“This show is using this idea of standard candle [an instrument of measurement in the galaxy] as a way to examine women's labor, colonialism, and how it created these major advancements in western scientific thought and imaging of space,” explains Rosalena.
She shares that she was interested in “computers” long before she began this project, as her grandfather worked at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and told her stories of women’s contributions to the space race.
“It’s this whole genre of history where people [were] just being completely erased. And we forget all the labor that goes into our computers even today with AI, which again becomes problematic.”
The director of LACMA’s Art + Technology Lab, Joel Feree, says they’d long hoped to stage a show at Mount Wilson. “It's such an iconic site, and the museum through, our Art + Technology program, has this ability to foster different experimental approaches to engaging artists, to staging installations, to developing new technologies.”