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This Astronomical Artwork Is Shining at Points Around Pasadena

What to Know

  • Fulcrum Festival celebrates the “intersections of art and science across Greater Los Angeles”
  • The 2022 festival’s theme is “Deep Ocean/Deep Space”
  • Sept. 15 through 25, 2022; various locations

Admiring an artwork often involves being in fairly close proximity to that artwork.

You lean in, from a respectful distance, to observe the lines of an illustration, one that’s framed on a museum wall.

You move your hands along a sculpture that invites tactile touch.

And finding a stage-close spot to hear live music? You just might choose to do so, for an especially immersive experience.

But there are a few offbeat artworks that are best viewed from not a few feet away but several miles, including a sky-high piece that’s located at Mt. Wilson Observatory.

It’s “Sunstar,” the “art/science collaboration of Liliane Lijn and astrophysicist John Vallerga,” a light-refracting work that’s mounted atop the observatory’s 150-foot Solar Telescope Tower.

Taking sunlight and turning it into something splendidly prismatic is Sunstar’s superpower, and people calling upon a few Pasadena locations over the coming weeks, including Pasadena City College and Memorial Park, will be able to gaze in the direction of the observatory and see a brilliant point of colorful light.

Sunstar is just one ethereally entertaining element of the 2022 Fulcrum Festival, which highlights those provocative, mind-growing, and joy-bringing junctures where science and art meet.

Our region is home to many of these notable nexuses, and several will be celebrated during the upcoming fest, which will take place around Los Angeles, and beyond, from Sept. 15 through 25.

The theme? It’s “Deep Ocean/Deep Space,” two epic areas that have long held the artists and scientists of Southern California in their thrilling thralls.

‘[Alien] Star Dust Meets Plankton’ will beautifully explore the realms of “dust and microbes”— projections of both plankton and meteorites add panache to this playful presentation — while both the Los Angeles River and Ballona Wetlands will headline their own major moments at the festival.

“We couldn’t be more excited about this year’s Festival as we welcome highly acclaimed local and international artists,” says Robert Crouch the Executive + Artistic Director of Fulcrum Arts.

The organizers’ focus on “the profound connections between art and science” will be celebrated by “exploring the astounding symmetries of deep oceans and deep space.”

“These explorations are as immediate and relevant to the current climate crisis as they are celestial and otherworldly. The 2022 Fulcrum Festival is an opportunity for a kind of magically critical engagement with our world, with our community and with ourselves.”  

Locations will vary, with UCLA and the 18th Street Art Center on the festival’s list, so be sure to note where you’ll need to go if there is an exhibit or happening that particularly plucks at the strings of your imagination.

As for the Sunstar schedule?

The prism-making favorite is getting an early start, before the festival opens in mid-September. Look for the light-bright piece to prettily point in the direction of Pasadena City College Center for the Arts from 11 a.m. to sunset through Sept. 14, with Memorial Park up later in the month.

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