Oculus, Spheres et al

Lux Nova (2010)

In my ongoing exploration of the dome as a medium for digital art, I have become interested in the history of domes as architectural and religious spaces.

Lux Nova is an attempt to place the viewer in a succession of domes (or dome-like environments) that move through this history, and also reflects on the importance of light in these environments. The title is a reference to the theological concept of the “New Light” (lux nova) developed in the Middle Ages and used by the pioneering Abbot Suger in his rebuilding of St-Denis abbey. His use of large stained-glass windows enabled the church to be pervaded by coloured light, as he said in his own poem: “For bright is that which is brightly coupled with the bright / And which the new light pervades” Suger is often acknowledged as the first to build in a truly Gothic style.

The scenes represented in Lux Nova are as follows:

  1. Maes Howe in Orkney, a neolithic burial chamber where light enters the interior at the winter solstice
  2. The Dendera Zodiac from southern Egypt
  3. The interior of the Pantheon in Rome with an image of Helios set in the central opening.
  4. The rose window at Notre-Dame Cathedral, Paris, with an alchemical figure in the roundel
  5. The Opus Medico-Chymicum, a 17th century alchemical diagram by J Daniel Mylius
  6. Brunelleschi’s dome of the Pazzi Chapel, with an armillary sphere inserted
  7. Finally, a view of Earth from the Cupola of the International Space Station, the largest window in space.