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The Observatory : Second Site

The Observatory : Second Site is a collaborative multimedia essay performed online. It began as a live performance at Kaserne Basel in Switzerland and is now a web-hosted digital art project and physical exhibition.

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The Observatory: Second Site project, by artists Rohini Devasher and Legion Seven, began with an interrogation of the complicated history of observational astronomy and the ways in which ‘seeing’ is strange and more ambiguous than one might imagine. Since then it has transformed far beyond its original scope. At the core of this new iteration is the question of how perception impacts sight and transforms the object. The artists are interested in how their commentary on observation transforms when other artistic understandings of the question become part of the work itself. Towards this the artists invited three creative practitioners to collaborate with us. Day Eve, Norwin Tharayil and Sona Shukla Sahani each created new works in response to prompts drawn from the reflections of people looking at the same celestial body, who were for the first time seeing the skies through a telescope.

From the beginning of the collaboration in Kaserne in 2020 the artists have been interested in what the digital makes possible, and how it opens avenues for a further fracturing of the body of this project. The Observatory – Second Site takes on the shape of a model planetary system – an orrery. At the centre of which is Saturn – the original body of this work. Orbiting Saturn are three planetary entities; the worlds of each collaborator which become stars to traverse.

For the exhibition at Khoj, the artists will bring the orrery into the studios. Each studio space will become the embodiment of each collaborator’s world. They intend to utilise surround sound, projected video elements, vinyl, drawing, text and physical objects to conjure the observatory. As with the website, Saturn is at the centre, manifested at the studio as a live performance of the original work.


*This page is available as a downloadable accessibility document.



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