A project aiming at expanding our collective imaginations around 'Oumuamua. A website invites to imagine
and to deconstruct assumptions of "natural", "artificial", "intelligence" and "life". Different
imaginations can be compared to each other in a physical installation that reenacts the circumstances of
astronomical imaging. The models of 'Oumuama spin around in a gimbal and reflect light from a spotlight to the observation tool.
On October 19th 2017 astronomer Robert Weryk discovered a fast moving spot of light in the images from the Pan-STARRS 1 telescope. Based on its hyperbolic speed it quickly became clear that the light must arise from an object coming from outside our solar system. The object known as 'Oumuamua (Hawaiian for scout) is the first interstellar object humans became aware of. The object looked unlike anything seen before:
1. the spot of light fluctuated dramatically over the course of several hours
2. the object inexplicably accelerated after passing the sun
In November 2017 a particular image took over the internet. It depicts 'Oumuamua as cigar shaped rock. Created by ESO (European Southern Observatory) graphic designer Martin Kornmesser, the iconic image still dominates the narratives and imaginations around 'Oumuamua. Other ideas also received public attention: Avi Loeb suggested the lightsail hypothesis in his 2021 publication "Extraterrestrial", speculating wether 'Oumuamua might be a space probe similar to humanities space vehicles.
I believe with broader concepts of intelligence, life and nature we can expand our imaginations around Oumuamua, despite our limited perception, beyond natural/artificial dichotomies. To allow for and foster broader imaginaries means to foresee the unforeseeable and to fertilise progress.
Developed during the studio class "Icons" led by Ameneh Solati as part of the MA Contextual Design @ Design Academy Eindhoven, Netherlands.