(Brancusi's Stargate by Dani Tull)
Right near the place where speed-of-light research conducted eventually led to how the universe was born, as well as the first inkling that the sun was not a god that fought darkness to rescue man every 12 hours but in fact a giant ball of electromagnetic fire, this weekend there’s some more wildness happening. Called Knowledges, it’s a two-day event in the Mount Wilson Observatory in the Angeles National Forest featuring projects by 30-plus artists integrating astronomy, scientific discovery, space exploration, optics, recorded observation, and naturey things. Right next to a historic 60-inch telescope built in 1908 you'll find an ensemble of totemic columns by artist and musician Dani Tull that he says are somewhat modeled after Brancusi’s famous Endless Column. The specifics include drums and communion with deep space, the latter a tradition scientists have practiced in this location for the last hundred-plus years.
VICE: How often does your work interact with outer space?
Dani Tull: Until a couple years ago I had no desire in making a piece that would interact with outer space. However, after two distinct and direct experiences that left me with some uneasy feelings and many questions, I began to quietly study the topic of extraterrestrial life and alien encounters. As soon as I was invited to participate in the Knowledges exhibition I knew that this was a unique opportunity to contextualize a work that could carry the intention of a trans-dimensional aesthetic. The location has it all: stunning nature, historic and cutting edge technologies, on a mountain peak that is well above the inversion layer of smog and LA haze.
Why Brancusi’s Column as a model? I am sensing something deep.
I see the forms as both aesthetic and technological, harnessing and sending an energetic pulse of connectivity from earth outward into the cosmos. At one end their vertical alignment points to the core of our earth and at the other out into deep space. The sculptures have black surfaces, bringing to mind Arthur C. Clark’s Space Odyssey monoliths and are engraved with a grid of tetraktys, which are interconnected triangles known in Pythagorean mysticism as a symbol for harmony of the cosmic spheres. It is a fractal pattern and works across the micro and macrocosm paradigm, it is infinite and taps energetically into the "Morphic field." The tetraktys grid pattern has been used by many ancient cultures and found in Hinduisms Yantras, Native American patterns and African masks. It is both a metaphysical symbol and a mathematical idea that embraces within itself in seed-like form the principles of the natural world, the harmony of the cosmos, and the mysteries of the divine realm. The pattern of upward and downward interconnected triangles also represents the creative manifestation of the masculine and feminine. Furthermore, it is said to be the Cymatic visual diagram of the sound of the chanted Om.
What are you charging these totems to do?
It is my intention that the arrangement of the totems send and receive an energetic pulse of connectivity, just as many of the transmitters and antennas on Mt. Wilson do. I will perform ritual drumming on a specially designed big drum. The pulsating drumming will energetically charge and help activate the sculptures, and considering how dense deep space is, there is no doubt in my mind that connections will be made. Their affects will be both instantaneous for viewers of Brancusi Stargate and resonate beyond our comprehension and knowing.
How long will the totems stay? What happens to them afterward?
The totems will be installed only for the duration of the exhibition, which is Saturday June 23rd and Sunday June 24th. After that, the pieces will go back to my studio, but it is also possible for someone to own Brancusi Stargate and open an intergalactic portal in the privacy of their art collection.
Mount Wilson Observatory, Angeles National Foret, California
Saturday, June 23rd through Sunday, June 24th
Brancusi's Stargate performances occur Saturday, June 23rd at 1 PM and Sunday, June 24th at 3:30 PM