Expo 2020 Dubai Public Art Programme
October 1, 2021 – March 31, 2022
Dubai Exhibition Centre, Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Asia
Installation view of Expo 2020 Dubai Public Art Programme, Dubai Exhibition Centre, United Arab Emiratesn, 2021
Photo: Roman Mensing
Orreries are beautifully crafted mechanical planetary models of the solar system that illustrate the positions and motions of planets and moons and are operated by a clockwork mechanism, yet not necessarily built to scale. Haegue Yang’s Sonic Planetarium – Dripping Lunar Sextet is suggestive of a grand planetary model and is also an extension of her ongoing series, titled Sonic Sculptures, which employs metallic bells.
Adorned with numerous bells, Sonic Planetarium explores the metaphorical and physical potential of bells, drawing on their sonic associations with spiritual and mystical traditions across civilisations. The six arms are connected to a web of perforated plate designs, which are variations on Islamic geometric patterns. Their distinct orientation towards cyclical movement and geometric subdivision unfold in an endless diversity of polygonal and floral patterns. The spherical heads of Sonic Planetarium resonate with the contours of planetary bodies in the universe. The work alludes to the achievements of Arab mathematician, astronomer and physicist Ibn Al-Haytham (c. 965 – c. 1040 CE) and his work on perception, based on his observations of the moon appearing larger or smaller depending on the position of the viewer.