Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Details

Ballard, S. "Dark Sky: everyday science fiction and the mechanics of the sky." Eyeline 78/79 (2013): 30-34.


The Aoraki Mackenzie Dark Sky reserve is four thousand three hundred square kilometres of New Zealand's South Island recognised for the stability and transparency of its atmosphere, and the absence of light pollution. Standing at the Mount John observatory at night, the sky does not appear flat or black but an undulating and variegated grey mass. With the naked eye, the depth of space is overwhelming, vertiginous-everything seems in motion. Yet when reduced by a camera to a set of pixels, or silver halide crystals, the image captured loses scale and immersion. When sky becomes paper the stars strewn across its surface are equally flattened. They become Informational points standing in for the experience of vision. Photographs struggle to capture the embodied observer, extending the duration of our perceptions, aggregating information before our eyes and extending it beyond the visible spectrum.