Drawn by the Pulse (2018) was filmed at the Harvard Astronomical Observatory and takes as its starting point Henrietta S. Leavitt´s (USA, 1868-1921) research on the properties of stars.
Leavitt worked as a "calculator" at the Harvard Astronomical Observatory between 1903 and 1921 under the direction of Edward Charles Pickering. Leavitt discovered a rule for measuring distances in the Universe through her work on the observation, quantification and calculation of the color and luminosity of stars made visible on the photographic glass plates produced by two Harvard telescopes. She first located variable stars in the nebula called “The Small Magellanic Cloud.” A few years later, she identified the relationship between the intensity of brightness and time, in which the most brilliant stars exhibited the longest pulsation periods. This rule allowed the development of precise measurements and contributed to understanding the Universe in dimensions much larger than those previously held.
Drawn by the Pulse is a silent 35mm film sculpture, based on the flickering of those variable stars and on the images of the photographic plates with which Leavitt worked. As happens with other film sculptures by Rosa Barba, the film projector transposes from object to subject, and the action of projecting, whether one is projecting blank film or moving images, acquires a new meaning.
Drawn by the Pulse, 2018
35mm film sculpture, silent; 03:08 min. Images: Installation view at Tabakalera, International Centre for Contemporary Culture, San Sebastián, Spain, 2017. Photo: Mikel Eskauriaza © Rosa Barba