A revolution of stardust - PhMuseum

A revolution of stardust

yvette monahan

2019 - Ongoing

After my daughter was born in 2016, my practice changed. In fact, everything changed. Childbirth had been both a primal and esoteric experience. It felt like a cosmic shift had happened.

One morning, I looked in the sink at a pattern created by coffee grinds. On closer viewing, it resembled a moonscape. I started to see images close at hand that mirrored the universe; the cosmic in the everyday. The water drops on the shower door took on meteoric qualities. Cobwebs assumed the form of entire galaxies. Circles and spirals appeared everywhere. The mundane became magic.

Then, I began to obsessively draw a circular symbol, a repetitive pattern of circles. I have since re-created this pattern through photography, sculpture, painting, and drawing in an attempt to understand it. I studied a cosmic model of the observable universe and wondered about the first sound after the Big Bang, the first sound from silence. What did this sound look and feel like?

Theoretically, everything in the universe is made up of vibrations initially created by this initial expansion. Each vibration or frequency emits some kind of sound. Some of these sounds can be undetectable to the human ear, yet vibrations are perceived through ears, skin, bones, and cellular structures. How do we understand and interpret these invisible frequencies?

In Robert MacFarlane’s book, “Underland: A Deep Time Journey”, he visits a physics lab investigating “dark matter” from deep within a coastal Yorkshire mine. Scientists there are seeking to catch a glimpse of what is thought to make up 85% of the mass in the universe, but which is yet to be detected. They have created a cosmic “breath-catcher” below ground in order to hear the ‘ghost particles’. They are listening for the breath of the universe. As Paddy McAloon says, ‘They are listening for smudged echoes of the moment of creation, they are listening for the ghost of a chance, they may help us make sense of who we are and where we came from’.*

NASA studies have shown that 97% of our bodies consist of the same kind of atoms as stardust. Some of our bodies may have originated from the Big Bang, so we could be partially made from dying stars. Maybe Joni Mitchell was right, we are stardust, billion- year-old carbon, we are golden.

* I trawl the megahertz - Prefab Sprout.

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