Katie Paterson can transport you from the micro to the macro in a heartbeat. The rising British art star’s past projects include burying an atomic-sized grain of sand in a desert, setting an old vinyl of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons playing on a turntable at the imperceptible speed of the Earth’s orbit and a parade of lamps on a Kentish pier, flickering in time with lightening storms around the world.
She has a rare knack for connecting the everyday with the great imponderables of time and space. Created in collaboration with AnOther and Haunch of Venison, her unique project at the 54th Venice Biennale is no exception, elegantly linking the literally throwaway and familiar with one of the universe’s most perplexing marvels.
The following photographs document some of the 100 or so explosions of confetti, spontaneously let off here and there at unplanned sites around the ancient city. In quantity and colour, the 3216 little pieces of paper match gamma-ray bursts, highly rare events which are the brightest explosions known in the universe – if one were to occur in the Milky Way it would mean total extinction for life on Earth. With a hand-held confetti cannon, Paterson compresses every GRB explosion into a brief, beautiful bang.
The full documentation of 100 Billions Suns will be on Katie Paterson’s website soon.
Artist: Katie Paterson
Photography: Martin John Callanan
Interactive Direction: Luke Spice and Luke Shumard
Text: Skye Sherwin
Special thanks to Matt Watkins and Haunch of Venison