By the Light of the Stars

By the Light of the Stars

Starlight has been a source of fascination throughout history; stars bridge earth-bound experience and infinity; they define the edge of the visible universe and are a foundation for cultural storytelling, navigation, imagination and scientific investigation.

In December 2015, FDRG collaborated with cosmologist Andrew Pontzen from UCL’s Astrophysics Group to run a multi-disciplinary fulldome project with Information Experience Design MA students from the School of Communication at the Royal College of Art. Designed around a series of cross-disciplinary lectures and workshops, By the Light of the Stars sought to communicate the profound scientific and cultural implications of starlight in contemporary society. Starlight is a significant source of scientific information and through spectroscopy, photometry and stellar astronomy, contemporary cosmology continues to expand our understanding of the universe.

Working in small groups the students developed, designed and delivered a series of short fulldome films which explored and interpreted complex scientific phenomena including dark matter, the speed of light, the life cycle of a star and ethics of human space exploration. These works sought to communicate the underlying scientific concepts through the convergence of visual, aural and spatial experience in the fulldome environment. The project culminated with a screening at the Greenwich Planetarium in January 2016. A selection of the completed fulldome films will be submitted to the Jena Fulldome Festival student competition in Germany in May 2016.


Amanda Olesen, Jordan Gamble and Anna Ridler investigate the construction of space imagery, revealing underlying data sets through animated visual manipulation.Starlight Project - Anna R Jordan Amanda_01

Dr Andrew Pontzen explains dark matter, the scale of the universe, bending time and the speed of light to First Year Masters students in the IED Lab. Starlight Project - Andrew Pontzen describes dark matter

Helen Mair, Lucy Hardcastle and Olle Alm visualise the imagined implications and perceptual distortions which would occur when altering the speed of light.Starlight Project - Helen Lucy Olle_01 Starlight Project - Helen Lucy Olle_02

Anna Dakin, Georgia Ward Dyer and Ruiheng Sun attempt to represent dark matter by observing the invisible through through the visible.Starlight Project_Anna D, Georgia Ruiheng_01

Maria Euler, Yinan Song and Annelise Keestra combine political and philosophical speeches and texts to explore the line between knowledge and the unknown.Starlight Project - Maria Yinan Annelise_02 Starlight Project - Maria Yinan Annelise_03

Sylvana Lautier, Rose Leahy and Kim Yip Tong use stop motion animation techniques to explore the life cycle of a star.Starlight Project_Lucent Matter_Rose Kim Sylvana_01