Medieval and Early Modern Optics, 2015-2017

Medieval and Early Modern Optics, 2015-2017

above: Ocular iv; detail

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 Al-Hazen’s anatomy of the eye, Copernicus’s Model of cosmos, Galileo’s observation of moon after the invention of telescope and mathematical notes. I created this piece as 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
After Galileo’s Starry Messenger treatise, 17th c. and Alhazen’s anatomy of the eye diagram, 11th c.
Installation view at NASA Ames  Research Center, Singularity University

Ocular (Alhazen and Kepler), 2015

Ocular i-iv, 2015, are the pages of a book that are unbound and contain information on subject of optics from various times. The drawing of the eye by Alhazen (Arab scientist, 11th c.) and Kepler’s diagram of the eye (German astronomer, 17th c.) are juxtaposed on two of the pieces 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 and Kepler’s work and research led to invention of telescope. Ocular i-iv is an homage to both scientists.


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


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



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 external object to the retina of the eye”