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CONTINUUM - Robert Good

Original image from NASA Mars Exploration Rover - Manipulated image - Alan Smith 

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A New Atlas of the Sublime

Robert Good

Text on 9 panels


A New Atlas of the Sublime uses the conventions of star charts, philosophical texts and astrophysics publications to consider how writers, thinkers and scientists have responded to our place in the universe.


Philosophers such as Edmund Burke and Immanuel Kant attempted to systematise our feelings of the sublime into a graded scale of responses from respect and reverence through to admiration and astonishment. They separated feelings of Beauty, grounded in harmony, order and pleasure, from the Sublime, which have their roots in terrible vastness and incomprehensible grandeur.


By contrast, Romantic poets and writers have used myth, metaphor and description to turn the natural world into a landscape of emotionally charged subjective experiences, whilst scientists have restricted themselves to a carefully cautious objectivity as they investigate the almost incomprehensible vastness of the night sky to the smallest mathematical detail.


A New Atlas of the Sublime reflects on these attempts at comprehension. Perhaps there is an irreducible remainder that cannot be put into words or captured by equations.


Texts are taken from 'The Sublime' by Philip Shaw and from scientific papers documenting research into black holes, gravitational waves and the Hubble Deep Field programme.


With thanks to Pippa Goldschmidt

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