Artist Katie Paterson sends Second Moon into orbit via Newcastle

By Ben Miller | 11 September 2013

Travelling at twice the speed of the moon around the UK, China, Australia and the US, a fragment of lunar rock, packaged by UPS and taken from Newcastle’s Great North Museum, has begun a year-long orbit of the earth in the latest intergalactic artwork by Katie Paterson.

A photo of three shining white and grey planets against a black galaxy
An image from the app accompanying Katie Paterson's Second Moon project. The public will be able to track the lunar shard as it orbits Earth© Courtesy Katie Paterson
Second Moon will cross the planet 30 times, trackable with a free app portraying the geographies and topographies the meteorite piece will cover. iPads and projections in places all over the world – including the museum’s own Planetarium – will allow the public to experience Paterson’s latest teeter at the edges of time and the cosmos.

“I’m sending a shard of the Moon which once fell to earth into a new orbit,” says the artist, calling her work a “temporary, human-made moon” which is “both real and imaginary.”

“It is an infinitesimal gesture that connects the galactic to the mundane, from customs hold-ups and airport regulations to the 29-year orbit of Saturn and the shifting planets finely held together by gravity.

“People in different parts of the world will be able to imagine this new moon circling our planet, passing overhead through day and night. Our planet is one of billions of others; the Universe may be swimming with moons.

“There are 166 natural satellites in our solar system. Now we can look up to the sky and imagine one more – NWA 6721, Lunar Brecchia, Earth’s Second Moon.”

This is part of In Another Time, the largest survey of Paterson’s work to date.

The Mead Gallery, Yorkshire Sculpture Park and Madrid’s La Casa Encendida are joining forces to reflect on the achievements of an artist who has previously broadcast the sounds of a melting glacier live to visitors on mobile phones in an art gallery and buried a nano-sized grain of sand deep within the Sahara desert.

More pictures:

A photo of a greyscale diagram of a meteorite
© Courtesy Katie Paterson
A photo showing an overhead meteorological view of the world and seas from space
© Courtesy Katie Paterson
A photo of a square wooden box with the words fragile on it within a white room
© Courtesy Katie Paterson
What do you think? Leave a comment below.

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