The Experience: Aquarium or Arena
Ancient cosmologies tend to structure the world through partition and relative direction to establish the sense of hierarchy. The “firmament”, for example, is a dome that separates the world above from the one below. The dome is way up there, threshold to the world beyond. Such ideology has inspired many typologies, including those of churches, temples, and planetariums.
With the way stars being projected onto the dome for people to look up to and be inspired by, planetarium is still, in a sense, a place of worship. As poetic as that is, the time of just looking and admiring has passed. The experience of space should be a journey, a journey that reflects the real dilemma and opportunities we are facing in space travel.
So, I’m not proposing to build an aquarium of light installations or spacial manipulations to show how awesome stars are. I want to eliminate that tangible/intangible glass in between.
I propose to update the typology of planetarium just as we update our approach of education: to challenge and engage, through games. I present to you: Stellarena.
The Space: Make or Break
Space is not empty, it is exuberant with matters and phenomes that seem to either “make or break” our expeditions. But the more we learn about these subjects, the more we understand how there is no absolute make or break. An obstacle could just be a blessing in disguise. A black hole is a giant life suction device while in theory a wormhole could be the shortcut to interstellar travel.
To represent the challenges and opportunities and the subtle interchangeable relations between them. I use elastic cables to create intertwined spaces. By manipulating the density, tightness, and intersections of these elastic cables, I can create passage, partition, portal, medium for lighting and base for trampolines.
There are 3 layers of circulation in accordance with the different ways to get around.
WALK: the stars are still pretty far away and static looking, obstructed by upper layer structures and the trampolines. However, there are openings that are indications of available jumping or permeating route, so if one decides to venture further into space, the stars are the way finding.
JUMP: With the help of trampolines, you get a boost in speed and accessibility, the lighting in the upper level is also a reflection of that upgrade. It’s also directional so that it could help people navigate through the jumping route.
PERMEATE: Just as there are shortcuts and tunnels for space travel, the third way to get around in the Stellarena would require a little bit of creativity and courage. The lighting is much more subtle and difficult to find; but once found, one can permeate through the cables in 3 directions: up, down and forward; to access all spaces and shortcuts.