A Stellar Opening Week of Cosmos Archaeology

In the vast expanse of the universe, astronomy delves into the origins, evolution, and composition of celestial objects, offering a glimpse into the mysteries of the cosmos. This discipline has existed for thousands of years, as our civilization has always been fascinated by the stars and has sought to understand the universe and its hidden secrets.

However, the average person often lacks knowledge of astronomical data, let alone the ability to understand it. How can we open this discipline to the general public? How can scientific data be visualized? These questions were explored through the Cosmos Archaeology exhibition and discussed at the Opening Symposium. Could art be the answer?

The Cosmos Archaeology exhibition kicked off its opening week with a series of events that brought together the worlds of art and science. This unique exhibition, which transforms astrophysical data into tangible realities, has brought scientists and artists into interactive dialogues, marking the beginning of this ambitious project. Swissnex in China played a central role here in promoting international and interdisciplinary collaborations.

During the Opening Ceremony we heard from our partners and curators. We engaged in discussions on the convergence of scientific research and artistic interpretation of cosmic data during the Opening Symposium organized by Swissnex in China. The workshop on computational museology showcased the transformation of abstract data sets into immersive sensory experiences.

The Opening Ceremony

Launching into the Cosmos

The Opening Ceremony of the exhibition at the Shanghai Astronomy Museum was a formal celebration of creativity and collaboration, featuring speeches from curators, artists, and academic partners. The curators offered a guided tour of the exhibition, followed by a film screening in the museum’s dome. This event highlighted the exhibition’s mission to foster international dialogues on astrophysics, artistic expression, and space sustainability.

About the Exhibition

Presented by Shanghai Astronomy Museum, EPFL, the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne, and Swissnex in China, Cosmos Archaeology will bring the latest international achievements at the intersection of art and astronomy to domestic audiences. The exhibition follows the trajectory of light from the vast and distant depths of space to the surface of the Earth. In the six chapters “Edge of the World,” “Deepspace Landscapes,” “Orbital Forests,” “Sky-Gazing Eyes,” “Hidden Pasts of the Cosmos,” and ” Cosmos of the Mind,” each piece weaves a narrative of a certain scale: What is the origin of the universe? How do large astronomical installations gaze into deep space? Can we glimpse our own fate in the cosmos? How are the myths of the sky interpreted in contemporary times? In the exhibition, data and scientific visualizations about the universe are intertwined with cultural imaginations, stories, and philosophical reflections about the universe. They not only translate, reproduce, and interact with the “sky mapping” data drawn from optical sky survey missions such as the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) but also include perspectives from the humanities or science fiction related to exploring extraterrestrial civilizations, sustainable space development, and astronomical history.

The artworks featured in “Cosmos Archaeology” primarily result from the close collaboration between the humanities and astronomy. This key exhibits from EPFL is co-created by the EPFL’s Laboratory for Experimental Museology (eM+) and Laboratory of Astrophysics (LASTRO). Additionally, the exhibition highlights collaborations between artists and prominent astronomical projects, including the MUST Telescope from Tsinghua University and the Chinese SKA Science Projects led by the Shanghai Astronomical Observatory.

This exhibition is generously supported by Beijing Yuanzhen Culture Co., Ltd, Presence Switzerland, the Department of Astronomy at Tsinghua University, the Shanghai Astronomical Observatory, Chinese Academy of Sciences, and Swissnex in China.

Organizers & Partners