Constellations

12.15.2017
Constellation du Taureau (photographie © Akira Fujii)Constellation du Taureau (photographie © Akira Fujii)

Constellations are the graffiti that dot the celestial vault that we gaze at from earth. The shapes drawn by these affabulated traces have come about by linking the stars together in animal shapes and objects with a splattering of heroes and trades, but as yet no women…

These constellations create a symbolic tiling of the night skies. It groups the stars into zones, as indicated by the Latin etymology (‘com’, together, ‘stella’, star). Within each grouping an illustration shines out, with the brightest stars acting as points from which you can recognise and identify the name of a constellation. Hence the constellation groups together all the stars that are within the perimeters more or less delimited by the illustration. The visual vicinity of the stars is only an illusion as the stars can sometimes be as far away from each other and of different ages. They are just lined up together enough for the observer looking at their distant and enigmatic light to perceive them as being in the same line.

The projection of signs on the great big blackboard of the universe sprinkled with stars is as old as humanity itself, if not the world. In Armenia, the figures of the Swan (Cygnus), Bull and Lion match configurations of stars on slabs dating back to the 4th millennium BC. At...