The New Show at the Hayden Planetarium, 2011. Single-channel video, color, sound.


The New Show at the Hayden Planetarium is an examination of the cultural significance of the planetarium show, taking the Hayden Planetarium’s 2001 show “Passport to the Universe” as its site of inquiry. Combining appropriated audio from the original planetarium show with handmade animation and recorded voice over, the language of the show and the physical arrangement of the space are revealed to be at odds: in voice over, Tom Hanks reminds us of our celestial inconsequence in the universe, while the newly redesigned planetarium boast of a perfect view from any seat – in other words, total visual centrality. In The New Show at the Hayden Planetarium, the planetarium is refigured as a coping mechanism, simultaneously provoking anxiety and offering reassurance. Questions like: “Where am I? How did I get here?” and, “Why does Tom Hanks remind me of my dad?” are asked and answered.