• Old Madras Observatory: Field notes 1


    This 10 ton, 15-foot long granite pillar, erected in 1792, is one of the few remains of India’s first modern public observatory, the Madras Observatory, started by the British East India Company in 1786. For over a century it was the only astronomical observatory in India that exclusively worked on the stars. Among the astronomers at the observatory were Norman Robert Pogson, Michael Topping and John Goldingham. By 1899, it had been relegated to gathering weather-related data. It now is within the grounds of the Regional Meteorological Centre, Chennai. More details can be found at http://adsabs.harvard.edu/full/1988JBAA…98..189S

    The  pillar, which carried the original transit equipment has the name of the architect, Michael Topping and the year A.D.MDCCXCII inscribed on it. The inscription that follows below is also carved in Tamil and Telugu.

    (I) The Geodetic position (Lat 13 4′-3″O.5 N) Long-80(4′-54″20 E) of. Col. Willaim Lambton is primary original of the survey of India, fixed by him in 1802, was at a point 6 feet to the South & 1 foot to the West of the centre of this pillar.
    (2) The centre of the Meridian Circle of the Madras Observatory was at a point-12 feet to the East of the centre of this pillar.)


    In the year 1855 – Capt. W.S. Jacob of the East India Observatory in Madras, India, found orbital anomalies in the binary star 70 Ophiuchi that he claimed were evidence of an extrasolar planet – the first exoplanet false alarm. The “discovery” began a 140-year period of other exoplanet discovery false alarms, but no actual exoplanets, orbiting any star, were discovered and confirmed until 1992.

     “It is the observatory where T.G. Taylor make a catalogue of stars popularly known as the ‘Madras Catalogue’, which Sir George Airy, the then Astronomer Royal, considered ‘the greatest catalogue of modern times’. Here the eminent astronomer N.R. Pogson also discovered several minor planets and variable stars and conducted observations for his world famous Variable Star Atlas.”

    Dilip M. Salwi, Madras Observatory: A forgotten page in Astronomy


    The pillar that carried the original small transit instrument on a massive granite pillar has on it an inscription in Latin, Tamil, Telugu and Hindustani,

    “Posterity may be informed a thousand years hence of the period when the mathematical sciences were first planted by British liberality in Asia.”


  • Testing Grounds: Arts and Digital Cultures in South Asia and Europe

    Very excited that my work ‘always take the weather with you’ will be shown as part of this year’s Colomboscope: Testing Grounds. Cinnamon Colomboscope is a contemporary and multidisciplinary arts festival that takes place in Colombo, Sri Lanka. Originally started in 2013, as a joint initiative between Alliance Française de Kotte, the British Council and the Goethe-Institut, the festival has continued to attract support and participation from Sri Lankan artists as well as those from Europe. Over the past two years, the festival’s reputation has spread beyond these two locales, and more artists from the South Asia region and other parts of the world have wanted to be part of the event.

    The set of 12 etchings is part of the exhibition, DEEP SENSING, which explores how our natural, social and technological environment constantly undergoes changes – some dramatic, some subtler. The mutations of digital technologies produce new relationships between material, information, and our own physicality. We – as subjects living within these ecologies – are called upon to acquire ‘a sensitivity’ in the course of traversing the infosphere and real space. Can digital technologies offer new ways of sensing, feeling and perceiving the world, contributing to a more diversified, intuitive and emotional understanding of our environments?

  • Anthropocene Campus: The Technosphere, April 14-22, 2016

    The Age of Humankind asks for new ways to produce and disseminate knowledge. The Anthropocene Curriculum addresses that need by bringing together researchers, academics, artists, and civil actors from around the world to form a dynamic body of knowledge that is both experimental and self-reflexive. This collaborative educational project initiated by the Haus der Kulturen der Welt and the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science goes beyond disciplinary boundaries and established educational formats to better describe, understand, and thus meet the challenges of the 21st century.

    “The second edition of the Anthropocene Campus will shed light on this man-made sphere, posing the challenge of describing, understanding, and more consciously shaping a twenty-first century wherein the forces of humanity, technology, culture, life, and industry act in accordance with the biophysical possibilities and limits of our planet.”


  • Observations: ArtScience Museum Singapore

    Arboreal  has been selected to be a part of Observations, ” a curated program of artists’ moving-image works that explores how a scientific line of enquiry, or a methodology of observation derived from science, generates meaning within artistic practices. Through the work of four international artists, the program celebrates curiosity and seeing; how the artist’s eye might see the world differently. Referencing nanotechnologies, the natural world, sound waves and the materiality of our own bodies, each of these works take a difference starting point, and use diverse ways to explore their subjects. As a whole, these works remind us of the powerful potential of the artistic processes of exploring, perceiving and visualizing the world around us. Their investigations take us on a journey of sight and sound that penetrates the surface of everyday observations and opens the door to otherwise unseen worlds.”

    Featuring works by Semiconductor (UK), Ryoichi Kurokawa (Japan), Skoltz_Kolgen (Canada) and Rohini Devasher (India).

    As part of the ArtScience on Screen at the ArtScience Museum in Singapore.


  • GLOBALE: New Sensorium at the ZKM

    New Sensorium curated by Yuko Hasegawa has opened at the ZKM in Karlsruhe. Bloodlines and Doppelganger are being exhibited as part of a show that focuses on new sensory realms, indicating a new consciousness derived from globalization and digital technologies.

    “New Sensorium« is an exhibition presenting the work of some sixteen artists sensing the way forward, exploring exit strategies from the dark confusion at the precipices of dualist modernization. It is a step towards a new ecosystem, of media and material, directed toward another future, another body – a renewed sensing of the organism.”

  • Artists’ Film International – Whitechapel Gallery


    Throughout 2016, Artists’ Film International explores the theme of technologies, coinciding with the major exhibition Electronic Superhighway (2016-1966).

    Selected by the Whitechapel Gallery, Scottish artist Rachel Maclean‘s pastel coloured dystopias explore parallel worlds. Germs (2013) follows a glamorous female protagonist through a series of commercials, as she becomes increasingly paranoid about the omnipresence of microscopic germs.

    Atmospheres (2015) by Rohini Devasher imagines the inter-connectedness of things, as we look up from Earth through a decametre wave radio telescope at the Gauribidanur Observatory near Bangalore, India. The work was selected by Project 88 in Mumbai.

  • Spencer Museum of Art – Site Visit

    Very excited to be at the Spencer Museum of Art for a site visit. I hope to back again next year to make a new piece for a show curated by the amazing Kris Ercums.

    Days 1 and 2 have been incredible with a tour around this fantastic space and the campus it sits squarely in the middle of.

    AND… they have a Natural History Museum!!

  • A Study in Blue: Below Another Sky Residency at the Glasgow Print Studio

    A Study in Blue, the end of amazing residency at the Glasgow Print Studio as part of the Below Another Sky project. read more

  • Scottish Dark Sky Observatory

    Under the Below Another Sky Project I also able to visit The Scottish Dark Sky Observatory which occupies a fantastic hilltop spot on the edge of the Galloway Forest Park near Dalmellington, under some of the darkest skies in the UK. read more

  • The Light of Things Hoped For…

    I joined the Amateur Astronomers Association in New Delhi in July 1999 in my second year at the College of Art in New Delhi. At the time I thought it might be the closest thing to a science fiction convention in the city. read more