DIALOGUE OF THE TWO CHIEF WORLD SYSTEMS
Gold cross within a gilded birdcage the shape of a Bishops hat.
On the gold cross is a hornet's nest made from the pages of The New Testament.
There is a ladder of red wishbones that lead down to a communion wafer.
The communion wafer is the same size as the raised "moons" that are on the front of the bronze that the meteorite rests on. The drawings incised down into the raised bronze circles are a perfect copy of the moons that Galileo drew as he was looking through the telescope he had just invented.
For discovering that the Earth went around the sun instead, as the Pope had said, that the sun went around the earth...he was put under house arrest for the remainder of his life...and all his work banned.
Meteorite on bronze base etched drawings of Galileo's moons
This artwork, Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems, is based on the book of the same name that Galileo wrote in 1632. This book outlined his research that found that the Earth orbited the Sun, and not the other way around…as the Pope had decreed. If Galileo had not had friends in high places he would have been dragged to the greasy black pole where the church burned alive the people who did not agree with the Pope. As it was, Galileo was put under house arrest for the remainder of his life. His life work was put on the Index of Forbidden Books along with anything he might write in the future.
Things that could fly have always been messengers between mankind and their gods. For Native Americans it is the eagle, for Christians it is angels.
The wasp’s nest in this work represents a closed and dangerous religious society, one that took the Bible, chewed it up, and made of it a defence against their predations. The Inquisition lasted five hundred years.
The meteorite, which flew here from a belt of asteroids circling Jupiter, represents scientific fact…dense and hard and mysteriously beautiful. But do these facts offer hope for personal salvation? Not on a personal plane but possibly on a universal one. The Hubble photographs are awesome in their beauty and we are the first generation to have left Earth, flown up and looked back at ourselves as in a mirror. There have been other less beautiful advances in science, though some find “the mushroom cloud” to be beautiful. So is science a closed and dangerous society … and in these times can religion and science maintain a dialog…
In this age, who have we trusted to do our flying for us?
- Stephanie Rayner