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The Origin Project, Project Plan

Conceptual Framework

Mythological creation stories not only answer the question, “Where did we come from” but also “why are we here.” These stories are the foundation of cultural value systems. Today, we need a new story. We need a new value system. We need to tell the story in a way that promotes intellectual exploration and rational thinking.

We need this because there is no room for mysticism when we are making decisions about the growth of human knowledge. We are dealing with things that could be very dangerous. We need to make decisions based on rationality not instincts formed by our exposure to primitive belief systems.

Perhaps most importantly of all, it is important to show that rationality is not without beauty and wonder. We don’t have to give that up just because we decide to rely on intellect rather than myths.



I would like the set-up of this project to be performance based.

I have mapped it out many times but I am not yet fully satisfied. I envision a box. You open the box and the lid becomes a 3-d resin painting with embedded lights that illustrates the creation of the universe. Then inside the box are numbered boxes. Box 1 contains cards that contain explicit instructions dictating the order of presentation so that setting up the display tells a story.

The items themselves can be interpreted literally and symbolically. For instance, one item would be a sphere seemingly made of diverse materials. The cards instruct you to set it in a tray and light it on fire. The fire burns away a paper shell creating a display of colored flames symbolizing the concentration and creation of elements that form the planets. Inside the shell are the actual planets of our solar system that would then be removed and hung up in some kind of kinetic sculpture.



Initial Birth and expansion of the universe – Resin sculptural painting with embedded, interactive lights

Formation of Elements – Hydrogen harvesting

Element Dispersal – jigsaw puzzle

Formation of Celestial Bodies – burning spheres

Formation of the Solar System – Hanging the planets in a kinetic sculpture



Many of the elements of this project are time consuming. Some must be made in a specific order because certain attributes are dependent on each other. This means that I must work very effectively if I want to produce the full project in a timely manner.

Phase 1: Resin Scuplture

Phase 2: Jigsaw Puzzle

Phase 3: Planets (Completion)

Phase 4: Flame (Harvest Hydrogen)

Phase 5: Instructions

It is possible that I will not be able to complete the entire project in one semester. I will be satisfied if I can get the resin painting and the planets done. They could be displayed independently. The rest of the work could continue over the summer. I suggest this because I know that while constructing the containers seems simple, it probably will not be. Things like that never go smoothly the first time.



This will be a very expensive project. I will apply for a GSG grant for the first phase of the work. If all goes well, I will apply for additional grants as they become available.


From the  Spring 2017 GSG Grant Abstract

This project, titled Origin, is the first in a series of creative works engaging in explorative research on the relations between art, science and culture.

Human knowledge is growing at an exponential rate and the historical mechanisms of culture are no longer sufficient to the task of assimilation. The investigation of the connections between science, art and culture is critically important at this moment in human history. Art functions as one method by which cultures can integrate this vast growth. The Origin project bridges the space between art, science and culture by creating a narrative detailing scientific theories of the birth and expansion of the universe. It reveals the beauty of query and the wonder of knowing so that knowledge will be more readily incorporated into collective culture.

The Origin project will be transmitted through a series of connected and complementary works. Each piece will be capable of standing alone or within the scope of the narrative works. The first piece is a sculptural representation of the Big Bang and the expansion of the universe. The base images governing the form were developed from NASA public-access data. The work will be constructed from a resin matrix embedded with sensors, fiber-optics and lights. The layering of light and color will “paint” the cosmic bodies while shifting patterns of light and shadow produce dynamic data-visualization of significant scientific theories and mathematical proofs. The work will be driven by a micro-controller that gives the piece a semblance of artificial life. Origins sensors will detect and respond to the viewer and tell its story in real time. The project will ultimately be displayed as a part of a performative presentation and exhibit at the Maine Science Festival.

The Origin project is an ideal embodiment of the Intermedial process.  Intermedial art is a process of discovering and refining the potential that lies between different media in order to generate new media, provoke thoughtfulness, instigate social change and expand engagement with the world. The Origin project is conceptually reliant on the cultural value of symbols and narrative structures to build associations and convey meaning, but the work also goes beyond what is currently known or given. It fuses scientific and artistic methods and materials to conceive a new aesthetic language that is engaged as a new medium of cultural transmission. The synthesis of exactitude and abstraction stimulate cognitive plasticity, enabling the viewer to construct more fluid and adaptable mental spaces.  The physicality of the piece, as a work of art, engenders personal connection and interactivity so that knowledge becomes not just bits of resistant data, but successive, flexible experiences that are easily integrated. Individual acceptance of intellectual vicissitude is the precursor of the kind of socio-cultural evolution that eventually becomes a revolution that changes the world. This is the type of work that characterizes the true nature of Intermedia.

The Origin project provides an opportunity for the University of Maine to popularize belief in progress, promote social change and endorse cross-disciplinary examination.  We live in a climate of fear and uncertainty. Too many people are responding by looking backwards and clinging to anachronisms. Origin asks them to look ahead and embrace the potential of the future. Stasis is a myth. Without progress, there is only entropy. The way to a better society is simple. Go forward. This cannot happen in isolation. It is time to stop compartmentalizing. Strict linear definitions of disciplines leave gaping holes in the continuum of knowledge. The Origin project is an innovative, cross-disciplinary inquiry that will not bother to break, but will simply transcend the barriers that restrict the growth of knowledge and enlightenment