2021 Ad Astra 2021 Ad Astra 2021 Ad Astra 2021 Ad Astra

2021 Ad Astra, St Catherine’s Private School, Sydney

AD ASTRA is a site-specific, suspended, kinetic sculpture that represents the many universal values, particularly the core values, that exemplify St Catherine’s educational philosophy—those being Service, Integrity, Respect, Resilience and Relationships.

The proposed work for St Catherine’s Anglican School introduces two suspended forms whose interplay examines relationships and the way people and groups interact at the basic level of two—the minimum number of entities required for a relationship. These are the fundamental building blocks of a community.

The two suspended forms each comprise separate groups of elements connected to a central axis using a concealed swivel mechanism that enables each group to rotate independently, activated by the ambient airflow within the space. The gently rotating units suggest a world in motion, its dynamic constantly changing, morphing into different configurations. The sculpture symbolizes the world in which we live with individual units represented by circular discs that attach to larger discs which then expand into communities to create the complex cities and towns we live in. From this perspective, we can visualize our planet and the numerous communities that exist each formed by individuals who relate to one another based on different interests, value systems, religions, race and common ground.

Carefully designed to rotate independently and seemingly overlap from different angles the tension and the shifting space between the forms over time becomes the focus of the work.

The suspended forms are offset at a diagonal responding to the architectural curve of the roof and allowing the forms to rotate above
and below each other. The two forms work in a series ascending and descending the space with the relationship between all the forms based on the golden ratio further reinforcing the idea that this study of relationships comes from nature and is in perfect harmony from this most basic unit to more complex systems.

Whilst there is diversity and difference between groups, the central axis of each rod provides a support system for connectivity between all groups.
In this sculpture support becomes a metaphor for Service which is St Catherine’s principal value underpinning all other values.

Influenced by the stars of the Southern Cross on St Catherine’s crest, the sculpture employs a combination of deep ultramarine blue and bright citrus yellow and bronze to create an experience of stars and night—our celestial universe. In this context AD ASTRA becomes a perfect title as an uplifting expression inspiring excellence, embodying the principals outlined by St Catherine’s.

Attached at the tail of the longest suspended form sit two small, faceted bronze spheres applied as ballast to weight the rod but also serving as ancient and universal symbols representing unity, completeness and infinity—the whole universe.

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