Christopher O’Leary at The Carnegie Observatories

The AxS Incubator is a residency program that will provide midcareer artists with opportunities to develop new ideas, new methods and even new raw materials by forging deep connections to Pasadena’s remarkable array of scientific, research, technological, design, and cultural assets.

Over ten days in the summer of 2016, Christopher O’Leary traveled to the Atacama desert in Chile to complete the Carnegie Observatory’s first artist in residence. The Carnegie’s Las Campanas Observatory (LCO) is the historic campus which holds the twin Magellan telescopes, and is the future location of the Giant Magellan Telescope. These powerful ground-based machines study the universe using instruments called spectrometers that analyze the light of celestial bodies to understand their composition and behavior. Spectroscopy is the foundation of contemporary astronomical research, observing subjects as varied as the lifecycle of local asteroids, to the history of the universe itself.

This research project was made possible with the generous support of the National Endowment for the Arts, the Pasadena Art Alliance, and The Carnegie Observatories. We would also like to extend our most heartfelt thanks to Erica Clark for supporting this project from the beginning, and Jeff Rich for sharing his insight and expertise.

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