Look at the sky!
Nie to niebo (Not This Sky) presents an enthralling and enigmatic narrative that delves into the mysteries of the things above and around us. This latest undertaking from the Castle Cultural Centre is a far cry from conventional run-of-the-mill exhibitions as it interweaves various threads and perspectives across interdisciplinary fields and accompanying events.
Two years ago, Justyna Olszewska, the exhibition's curator, gave a talk on outer space, and particularly on the stardust that permeates it, at the Photography Gallery pf. Now, alongside Dominika Karalus and Wojciech Luchowski, who is also responsible for exhibition design, she takes visitors to the Exhibition Hall on a journey along celestial paths, exploring the vastness of space while highlighting the Poznań's sites that hold the key to uncovering the secrets of the cosmos, hidden in this capital of Wielkopolska.
So, what can you expect to see at the exhibition? Upon entering the vestibule, visitors are greeted by an interactive model of the Ajisai satellite, launched into Earth's orbit in 1986. This life-size model, crafted by Justyna Olszewska using steel, plywood, and mirrors, pays homage to the satellite's working principle of generating no light of its own and only reflecting the rays of light that reach its surface. The smaller display room is dedicated to the Moon, which will greet you as soon as you emerge from the semi-darkness of space. Not only can you see another model there, this time of the Silver Globe, but you can also view phases of the Moon, learn about moon research history and spot lunar references in comic books, toys, literature, and movies.
Prepare to embark on a truly fascinating journey as you enter the main Exhibition Hall area, where works of art are displayed alongside model rockets and references to ground-breaking research findings. Here, you will discover a multitude of informative infographic panels made by Agata Kulczyk, along with books and articles curated by the organisers. The collection is designed to evolve with each successive week of the exhibition. Be sure not to miss the visual performance by Arkadiusz Nowakowski, which explores time and motion, or the Small Apocalypse installation by Przemysław Jasielski, featuring a broken laptop computer that plays back a video on a meteorite fall. Fragments of the meteorite are available for viewing under an electron microscope. One particular exhibit that simply could not be left out of the exhibition is an astronomical observatory capsule showcasing old prints from the Library of the Poznań Society of Friends of Science, including one of the twelve surviving copies of De revolutionibus orbium coelestium by Nicolaus Copernicus.
When planning your visit to the Not This Sky exhibition, I strongly suggest allocating ample time to explore the vast array of infographic panels, which are a mine of information. They will walk you through astronomical exploration milestones and ongoing projects, such as the dearMoon initiative funded by the Japanese billionaire Yusako Maezawa. His plan is to take a group of selected artists to circle the moon to seek inspiration for their new works of art. Also on display are Widmanstätten patterns, which are distinctive figures found in the cross-sections of actual meteorites, and exploration rovers made by members of the science club of the Poznań University of Technology, which you may even attempt to build at home. Lastly, you will get an opportunity to discover meteorite swarm formation, delve into the history of rocket design, and receive recommendations on notable destinations to visit, such as the Astronomical Observatory, where open lectures and stargazing shows are held.
All this merely scratches the surface of what the Not This Sky project has to offer. Generous with information, the exhibition presents a plethora of threads that captivate the viewer. It allures not just through its exhibits and the knowledge it imparts, but also through its meticulously refined design that resembles a fusion of a laboratory and a command centre. Olszewska's project spotlights the crucial activities and significance of the Poznań astronomical research community, accompanied by an extensive educational programme featuring workshops tailored to both children and adults, guided tours, lectures, and meetings.
For further details about the side events, consult the Zamek (Castle) Cultural Centre website and social media. I cannot recommend enough that you pay a visit to the Not This Sky exhibition to witness space (and more) through its lens. It will give a whole new meaning to the word "Posnania"!
translation: Krzysztof Kotkowski
Nie to niebo (Not This Sky)
4 March - 2 July 2023
Exhibition Hall of the Zamek (Castle) Cultural Centre
© Wydawnictwo Miejskie Posnania 2023