Counting the stars: We Are All Jiggling Atoms

There are moments in life that are so much bigger than you that you feel like your body is taken apart and then put back together within fractions of seconds; you feel a current of excitement rushing in with a sharp inhale, a jittery feeling of unrest bubbling right behind your heart, a moment that lasts for a century and you are in its centre, floating with your eyes closed, every pore on your body embracing the world around you.
We are so small when you think of the universe; When I was six, I was warned that If I tried to count the stars, they would show up as spots in the palms of my hand. It was a hot summer night, and we were in a square wearing white shorts and drinking lemonade out of small carton boxes. the boy that gave me that solemn piece of advice had a round face, and must have been two or three years older than me, which at the time established him as a star-counting authority. I took my eyes off the night sky, and run to find my friends, stealing glances at my palms to make sure they were spotless.
I don’t know if I have ever truly seen the night sky as a landscape of space; I think my head can not really fit the magnitude of its infinity. I see the movie version of it, black velvet with glitter splashed on it.
And here I am, in the Rug Factory, in the Jiggling Atoms exhibition, and the only word I can think of is perspective.
Yes, we are minuscule in relation to the world, but we are a world in our own right. We are made up of stardust, and particles, and atoms, and tiny little morsels of lifeless life that buzz and move and make up the massive from the minuscule.
In Jiggling Atoms, 25 artists got together and saw particle physics through art. Gravity, space crafts, Higs Boson, Hydron Collider, and everything else you have heard in a Big Bang Theory episode inspire some amazing works that test the boundaries between science and art (are there any?).

Even though I liked all the pieces I was truly smitten with two artists:

I really liked Jim Wright‘s structures, that gave an otherwordly three dimensional feel, merging science models and artistic sculptures in the same space.

My favourite pieces though had to be from Lizzie Towndrow, who knitted the head of Tycho Brahe, and made a hand-crafted sun that just lit the whole room.

I can not help but hope that there will be a publication of some sort from the exhibition, as the work was genuinely thought-provoking. I left wondering about atoms, art, people, and the things we take for granted.

Thinking of me, and the world, and space, and infinity, I realise I am an atom, a jiggling atom that is still trying to count the stars.



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