Cosmic Collisions Goes with a Big Bang at Crawick Multiverse

Next comes a summer of Cosmic Conversations at A’ the Airts

Last weekend saw a spectacular costumed performance plus the unveiling of a new installation by celebrated land artist Charles Jencks at Crawick Multiverse.

They were part of Cosmic Collisions, a two-day celebration of art, architecture and science involving leading international figures, taking place in and around Sanquhar, in Dumfries and Galloway, from June 23-25.

Hundreds of visitors saw Saturday’s unveiling of the new installation, entitled Galactic Collisions and the performance of Oceanallover’s latest production called Sea Hames.

Even more attended the opening of an exhibition called Cosmic Collisions: birth, rebirth and the universe at the Merz Gallery in Sanquhar and a series of talks by some of the world’s leading cosmologists and architects at the town hall.

But that’s not the end of it – there will now be a summer series of three compelling Cosmic Conversations – talks taking place at Sanquhar’s A’ the Airts.

Charles Jencks, who designed Crawick Multiverse and organised Cosmic Collisions, said: “The whole event has been a huge success, our own Big Bang. It’s been fabulous to see how much people of all ages have enjoyed this fusion of art, science and architecture.

“It has been such a privilege to be able to bring some of the world’s leading space scientists, architects and others to Sanquhar and as part of such an enjoyable and colourful event. What’s even better is that there’s more to come, with some outstanding speakers taking part in our Cosmic Conversations. These were a great success last year and look to be even better in 2017.”

This year’s talks are:

  • SANQUHAR AND THE KILLING TIMES: THE COVENANTING STRUGGLE: Duncan Close, Chairman of the Royal Burgh of Sanquhar Heritage Society. Wednesday, 12 July, 7pm.
  • LANDSCAPES OF COSMOS AND CHAOS IN NITHSDALE: Professor David Munro, Historical Geographer in Residence at Drumlanrig Castle. Wednesday 16 August, 7pm.
  • GAIA, GOD AND THE MULTIVERSE: Michael Northcott, Professor of Ethics at the University of Edinburgh and Dr David Borthwick, Lecturer in Literature at the University of Glasgow. Wednesday 30 August, 7pm.

Tickets are £5 per talk or £10 for all three from  

Visitors to the exhibition opening were able to make their own origami universe, try a Galaxy Making Machine and use a virtual reality headset to witness the evolution of a cosmos.

Sea Hames was partly inspired by the Norse legends of Arvak and Alsvith, the horses that pull the sun’s chariot across the sky (see notes to editors for more info). This multi-disciplinary performance fuses compelling music and bold costume design to explore the mythology and iconography of the horse, the plough and the land.

Speakers at the day of talks included Prof. Carlos Frenk, Director of Durham University’s Institute for Computational Cosmology, whose computer simulations are pushing forward our understanding of how galaxies and the universe form, and Prof. Monica Grady, who was part of the project to land the Philae probe on a comet.

The exhibition, which runs until 10 September, includes new paintings by Charles Jencks and interactives from cosmologist Prof. Carlos Frenk’s team.

There is also previously unseen work by Daniel Libeskind showing how spiral galaxies lie at the heart of his design for Durham University’s Ogden Centre for Fundamental Physics building where Prof. Frenk is based.

There are pieces by artist Rachel Libeskind in her first ever collaboration with her brother Noam, a cosmologist.