Over the last several months, I have been working with the Harvard College Observatory’s Astronomical Photographic Glass Plate Collection at the Harvard & Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
My research has been focused on photographic prints of the North Polar Sequence and Harvard Standard Regions (1890 - 1919), specific groupings of stars. These photographic prints are dotted with exquisite handwritten marks - letters, numbers, symbols - by the Harvard Computers (women astronomers), coded inventories of the night sky. These notations are drawings and as such graphic traces of history. They are accounts of invisible labor; collective, often anonymous, notes working in cumulative unison to build networks of knowledge.
Star Data, is an homage to the pioneering Harvard Computers and the utility and accessibility of the analog archive.
Each artwork in the Star Data portfolio references a specific photographic print of either the North Polar Sequence or Harvard Standard Region. The hand-cut circles in each of these artworks represent the location of a Computer's notation atop these photographs. The result is a unique constellation of marks.