Medieval and Early Modern Optics

Medieval and Early Modern Optics

above: Ocular iv; detail

Medieval and Early Modern Optics

Sidereal Messenger, 2017

Sidereal Messenger is an installation of circle wood panels that form a constellation on the wall. The circles display textual and visual information on medieval and early modern optics and astronomy. The images include diagrams by Kepler, Tusi and Al-Hazen, the model of cosmos by Copernicus, and observation of the Moon by Galileo through his telescope.

I created this piece as a site-specific installation at NASA Ames Research Center, Singularity University, in September 2017.

Sidereal Messenger, 2017, silkscreen on laser-cut and laser-etched wood panels, acrylic and ink

Reception at NASA Ames Research Center, Singularity University, Steampunk theme event, 2017

Ocular (Alhazen and Kepler), 2015

Ocular i-iv symbolize pages of an unbound book, containing information on the subject of optics. The drawing of the eye by Alhazen (Arab scientist, 11th c.) and Kepler’s diagram of the eye (German astronomer, 17th c.) are juxtaposed and I add a telescope and magnifiers to these compositions. Although 600 years apart, Alhazen’s writings influenced Kepler’s discoveries in the field of optics. Kepler’s work and research led to the invention of the telescope. Ocular i-iv is an homage to both scientists.

Ocular-1

Ocular i & ii, 2015, silkscreen on plexiglass, graphite on wood and magnifiers, 12.5”x 8.5”x  1”
A Tribute to Kepler and Alhazen on Optics

O2

Ocular iii & iv, 2015, silkscreen on plexiglass, graphite on wood, telescope and magnifier, 12.5”x 8.5”x  1”
A Tribute to Kepler and Alhazen on Optics

Ocular-i-iv-detail

Research:

Al-and-Kepler
Left: Alhazen, 11th c., Arab, a page from his manuscript on optics
Right: Kepler, 17th c., German, a page from his manuscript on optics

“Alhazen’s most famous work is his seven-volume treatise on optics Kitab al-Manazir (Book of Optics), written from 1011 to 1021. Alhazen studied the process of sight, the structure of the eye, image formation in the eye, and the visual system. Alhazen’s Book of Optics influenced the Perspectivists in Europe, Roger Bacon, Witelo, and Peckham. The Optics was incorporated into Risner’s 1572 printing of Opticae Thesaurus, through which Kepler finally resolved the contradictions inherent in a Ptolemaic explanation of the imaging chain, from the external object to the retina of the eye”