The High Altitude Gamma Ray Observatory in Hanle, Ladakh, at an altitude of 4500 metres above sea level to the north of Western Himalayas (photo: Rohini Devasher)
Project (2012)

The Light of Things Hoped For…

Astro-Nomads, umbraphiles or shadow lovers, properly applied, one who is addicted to the glory of total solar eclipses, noctcaeladors defined as those with a strong interest in, and psychological attachment to, the night sky. Who are these individuals who watch the stars and invest their resources in the activity? Why do they continue to chase eclipses and other celestial phenomena across the country and sometimes the world?

Rohini Devasher's practice is rooted in science, driven sometimes by an exploration of morphology and morphological relationships and processes of emergence where an increasing complexity is built through layers and recursion. The current research is a form of collective investigation with amateur astronomers working towards an understanding of what has been termed "behavioural astronomy." Astronomy is unique by virtue of being the oldest of the observational sciences and perhaps of all the scientific fields, it will always be weighted heavily with amateurs quite simply because there aren't enough people looking at the stars. Since March 2010 Rohini has been collecting stories, interviews, conversations, and histories from amateur astronomers in New Delhi. What does astronomy require of these individuals? What does it ask of the imagination and the psyche? Could we look at Astronomy as a form of archeology?

Rohini explored the idea of something that comes alive once it is "finished." How does one create a sense of engagement with someone else’s experiences? Is it possible to be a participant again once a work is complete? As an amateur astronomer, Rohini Devasher aimed to explore the dual role of the artist as both "participant" and "observer."