Here's a picture of what i'm going for:
Let's see if I can trace the thinking behind this one.
This project is to be executed under a vastly different time constraint than previous projects, and the idea of simplicity was offered as an overarching theme to help soothe our creative souls while we look for inspiration. This simplicity was offered as an element to clarify the work, not a negative form of obfuscation through simple design; what this means to me, then, is that less is more; and so I ask, why not always more? Why can't we explain things in simple terms?
To me, realistically, this idea of beauty-in-simplicity is a way to avoid a trope in art. The suffering artist. I see simplicity as an avenue by which the artist could express themselves honestly, but the dimension of "I worked hard, I dedicated a period of my life to this work, I have thought about it deeply, I sacrificed for my art the time I spent making it, a section of my life." is obscured, or negated.
It seems to me then, that time is a limit. Time is a constraint; would the greatest masterpiece of all time be a work that a person continually "suffered", or worked on, for their entire life? One huge message, abbreviating all that a human life can endure?
Or can things be more simple? What are we looking for in that great experience, anyway; what do we hope to gain from an artists' art, be it "simple" with no time spent, or "complex" with volumes of context surrounding it.
This is the essential relationship we have with reality; an interpretation of something that is already there. thanks to my English degree, I am aware of Kenneth Burke's "unending conversation" metaphor, which says just that; we are born into a context too large for our brains to comprehend, and life is figuring out our relation to it. We join the conversation, and then we leave it, but others will always continue it; there is always succession. A flood of context.
I wanted to make a simple version of all this information. The extremely basic "shape" is shown above; I want to make a starmap with a clock superimposed upon it.
The clock will have one hand, which will move in a neverending cycle, controlled by an arduino to look like a nice pace. This mechanical, "perfect" motion is classically understood to be separate from an action a human is trying to repeat. I'm not going to model it after any "real" or "conventional" measurement of time; I will just choose what looks like a nice pace for the hand to rotate with. This signifies the arbitrariness of the measurements we make, that we base science off of, or knowledge, or the unending conversation.
The astral theme and title are included, because star stuff or star dust is an amazing place for evolution to have begun. Recently I took evolutionary-historical thought beyond the primordial ooze; our consciousness began as star stuff, that smashed into itself to form a planet, and out of that, life, and RIGHT NOW, our present-moment consciousness. We are consciousness out of star dust.
it is possible to think one step further, what made the star dust, but a star map is a recognizable circular object, which has all those wonderful "cyclic" connotations surrounding it. It also makes the clock superimposition fit together as a composition quite nicely!
The act of observing this artwork is a controlled piece of the theme, too. The audience's act of interpreting it represents our consciousnesses "joining" the unending conversation; whatever your interpretation of it is, that is what you have taken from or contributed to the conversation. The patron essentially approaches a microcosmic universe, and is free to interpret it however they feel, without reward or penalty. I intend on telling the audience to simply let their thoughts settle in, while just regarding the piece as whatever whole they think it to be.
I have been playing with one other dimension regarding this piece, that dimension being sound, or the idea of hollow noise. An extra undetectable (to humans) dimension could be added to the piece, which would realistically be that i would play a track of music through the surround sound system in the performance space. the track would be silent. People would be aware of this, try to hear "the track i am playing", because I would explain before the piece "begins its official life as an artwork that you may interpret" that I would initiate a sound track to go with the piece. In this manner, people would listen for what isn't there; people would listen for silence, which is something you can't hear. This is another dimension added to the "consciousness out of nothing" aspect to which the art speaks; where we came from had no atmosphere, had no sound (at least that is audible to our limited terrestrial ears), and I could replicate that by "playing" a blank track, which is ultimately doing nothing but making the audience listen to nothing. (Which is all paradoxical; you can't hear nothing, or silence. This paradox is postmodernism, or something. I'm not sure, but I like paradoxes in art. They seem to suggest a search for balance, and don't get me started on writing about balance on such conceptual levels.)
I might print out the star map graphic (stars + clock superimposition) on oversized paper, and pierce it with the motor/clock arm that will rotate through it.
I haven't thought about hiding the arduino; with all that nice circular balance, it might look very out of place, but hey, that's the ebb and flow of life. Nothing can ever be perfect, and if it is, you would probably be branded insane for thinking so.