objects collected from walking 124 miles horizontally, twice the vertical distance to the Kármán line, commonly considered the boundary between the Earth's atmosphere and outer space
triptych of letters to private space travel companies
Dear Sir Richard Branson,
I am writing to suggest that Virgin Galactic add an artist residency component to its spaceflight program. As noted by astronauts Edgar Mitchell, Rusty Schweikart, Ron Garan, and others, viewing Earth from the vantage point of space has the potential to create profound cognitive and emotional perspective shifts. In many ways, this is parallel to the pursuit of art itself: to present the familiar, same old world, in new and revitalized ways.
Carl Sagan’s Pale Blue Dot photograph depicts the startlingly minuscule scale of Planet Earth against the vastness of space, and offers an example of the way that imagery impacts perception. In my research of Cosmic Consciousness phenomena and the Overview Effect, I’ve come to believe that an artist would be uniquely suited to the important task of processing and translating the life changing experience of viewing earth from above, and could serve the mission by sharing the experience with a broad audience.
From the globes and maps of early cartography, to the paintings of Arctic exploration, there is a tradition of utilizing artist’s skills when reckoning the terra incognita. Including an artist on a flight would serve to increase the social impact of commercial space travel. I am volunteering myself, but would understand if another artist was selected for what I believe to be an important role.
Sincerely, Skye Gilkerson
dual channel video
Unending consists of two videos playing across from each other, each recorded at the same time on opposite sides of the earth. The sunrise was filmed in the East Coast of the United States, and the simultaneous sunset was filmed in its diametric opposite, Perth, Australia.
Thanks to filmmaker Josh Hopkins for the video footage from Austrailia.
Pale Blue Dot
wood, plexi, paper, ink, landscape
An homage to the famous photograph by the same name, the Pale Blue Dot viewfinder transforms any landscape into a glimmering dot of light, like planet earth seen from deep space.
vanity mirrors, pedestals
overlapping live feeds from every place I've lived
video projected onto window
solar string lights
Constructing architecture is a way of claiming space, delineating boundaries, and separating ourselves from nature. Natural cycles quickly erode these distinctions, however, in the abandoned architecture of shrinking cities like Baltimore and Detroit (both places I have called home). Plants take root and find what they need for survival within the cracked mortar of overlooked buildings. Wrapped in lights, these trees now recall their carefully tended counterparts living in parks and by sidewalk cafes, highlighting the difference between spaces maintained and monitored, and those on the periphery.
tape on window
temporary installation made of firewood
This one-day project spontaneously grew from an artist residency conducted in silence. Where medieval labyrinths compressed long pilgrimages into shorter walks to served as metaphors for solitary spiritual journeys, I wanted this version to be more like a game. Inviting interaction, two spiral pathways circle one another with entrances on opposite ends, and as participants move through the spiral pathway they orbit each other, eventually meeting in the middle.
Photograph by Gina Cholick
adhesive and dust on gallery floor
wood, etched plexi
In this travel sized viewing box, mirrors reflect the sky above and expand it downward, erasing everything in between. The characteristics of different landscapes merge into one view, as mountains, forests, and cities become the familiar, open expanse of the central United States where I was raised.