Binary System

Stargazers is a collection of stories about stars. This is the first story that has been given to me in the form of a poem.

The story looks at the binary star system SS Cygni in the constellation Cygnus. SS Cygni consists of two stars orbiting each other; one large, cool red dwarf, and one small, hot white dwarf. As they orbit each other the denser white dwarf pulls matter from the red dwarf, absorbing it into it’s self. This kind of stellar relationship is called a cataclysmic variable system, a suitable name because they often end dramatically.

I met Christine in Berlin and we got talking about binary stars. Some stars orbit each other peacefully at a respectful distance, some get too close and collide. Some are unbalanced, with one star dominating the other, stealing its matter and leaving it drained. In many ways, these systems make effective analogies of romantic relationships. Christine put words to a situation that I think many of us have experienced, and I now have a new-found empathy for SS Cygni.

Stargazers

Star Gazing

Claire Pendrigh, Stargazing (Perseid Meteor Shower), 2016, still from digital animation

We are all made from star stuff, so is it really that surprising that so many of us look to the night sky and feel some kind of connection?

Everyone has access to the night sky, it can not be owned, annexed or restricted to a select few. Anyone can be a stargazer.

The points of light we see in the night sky are the centre of a great many stories; stories of culture, navigation, exploration, science, history and understanding. They have been used to pass on legends, moral tales, cultural histories, navigational routes, and scientific theories. They are bestowed with personal significance for individuals and groups of people.

Gazing into the cosmos reminds us that our existence is small. We share this tiny planet, surrounded by the infinite expanse of our universe. But our stories are important. They locate us within this expanse, and present a framework by which we can analyse and understand this position.

Stargazers is a project in which I hope to collect many stories about stars, and use them to create short animated works. These stories may encompass a wide variety of contexts including scientific, cultural, navigational, personal, anecdotal and historical, but they will all pertain to a specific point of light (or constellation) in the night sky. Ultimately, the stories will be linked together by a navigable sky map.

I am currently on the look out for stories and narrators! If you would like to get involved then please contact me. I am interested to hear all types of stories about stars, astronomical bodies, constellations etc. If your story is a good fit for the project then I will ask you to narrate it for me and email me the audio. I will then make a painting and an animation for your story.

Star Stuff

Claire Pendrigh, Star Stuff (Omega Nebula), 2016, still from digital animation

In Berlin

Studio

Welcome to my new studio space in Berlin at Studios ID!

Constructed in 1985, the Studios ID building is located within the former Operative Technical Sector, originally operated by the Ministry of State Security. This building was the Intelligence Department offices, and used to be responsible for the development, production and maintenance of all espionage equipment, including wiretapping devices, cameras, camouflage and monitoring instruments. Now it is home to around 200 artist studios like mine.

I will be working here for March and April 2016.