One Hundred Ounces of Light

*Can data be poetic?

A one-km auto rickshaw ride in Ahmedabad takes Rs. 10 and India reached Mars at Rs. 7 per km

The Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM), also called Mangalyaan (literal meaning Mars-craft in Sanskrit) is a space probe orbiting Mars since 24 September 2014. It was launched on November 5, 2013, by the Indian Space Research Organisation. India successfully placed its low-cost Mars spacecraft in orbit around the Red Planet in its very first attempt, catapulting the country into an elite club of three nations.

Amidst this glorious success, India and the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) continued to struggle to gather funding for space research. Why? Perhaps because the common man of India continues to be oblivious to the fact that India had created space history. Can we introduce space to the common man? This is an initiative to connect the common man of India to the wonders of the outer space in order to promote funding for research in the field. We did this through personalised everyday objects that tell stories using space data.

In 'Hundred Ounces of Light', the tiny lamps are linked to the space data. The distant lights of the universe have been captured in these bottles. One stores the golden light of the sun and it flickers as if it is breathing, its intensity changing with the changing space data of the sun. It is connected to the live image feed of the sun from NASA open which gets updated every 30 seconds. The other bottles contain the essence of Mars, Jupiter, and our Moon. We captured it on our stargazing expedition.

This project uses simple open source data and material to make space data relevant to everyday life. It channels the fascination we have all felt, especially as children, towards the sky and its stars. The simplicity of it allows absolutely anyone to fill the light of a celestial body in a little bottle of their own.


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Project Details

Team - Kalyani Tupkary, Jazeela Basheer & Rucha Joshi
Mentor - John Rogers (University of Dundee)
My individual contribution to the project included -
Concept generation along with building a narrative around the topic, writing the code in Arduino, sourcing the material specifically - glass bottles from the 'old city' part of Ahmedabad, hand lettering the labels, letter and the box and art direction for the photoshoot. The project was showcased as a part of 'Space Wonder Lab' at the UnBox Festival, New Delhi, 2014.