Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun and Emanations from Z

Aisling O'Beirn (Photographer)

Research output: Non-textual formExhibition

14 Downloads (Pure)


Solar Samples (2019)
Pencil on (Solar White and Solar Black) Heat Shield

Medium: Pencil on solar white and solar black

This drawing is an inquiry into ways of understanding our relationship to the sun, our nearest star, in terms of time and distance. The drawing is on heatshield panel samples coated with heat resistant paint developed by Dublin based ENBIO. The paint is used for heat shields for Solar Orbiter Satellite, which will soon be orbiting the sun on a research mission. O’ Beirn was invited to make a work related to this theme on the sample panels as part of the Science Festival.

The images on the white panel are of solar mass ejections. The images on the larger black panels are of a sunspot on the top panel and of the earth’s magnetic field deflecting solar radiation on the other. The small panels record the speed of light on one and the amount of seconds it takes sunlight to reach earth on the other.

The work was shown in ‘Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun and Emanations from Z’, ArtisAnn Gallery, Belfast as part of the NI Science Festival

The work was purchased by Professor Louise Harra, from UCL-Mullard Space Science Laboratory for her private collection.
Original languageEnglish
Size30 cm x 30cm
Publication statusPublished - 6 Feb 2019

Bibliographical note

O’ Beirn’s current sculptural work explores space as a physical structure and political entity by making and animating forms relating to observed and theoretical structures being studied by contemporary astronomers and physicists. Much of my recent research, facilitated by Armagh Observatory, Dunsink Observatory and The Centre for Astronomy NUIG, Galway is an extension of previous work on the relationship between the politics of place uncovering the tensions between disparate forms of official and of unofficial information.

This work is interdisciplinary, exploring the relationship between art and science. It manifests variously as sculpture, installation, animation and site-specific projects. Documentation of my previous work can be seen on

O’ Beirn is based in Belfast and has exhibited nationally and internationally. She was on of the artists chosen for Northern Ireland’s first participation in the 51st Venice Biennale. She was shortlisted for MAC international 2018. She is a member of the group Centrifugal consisting of artists architects, theorists and curators from Zagreb Helsinki and Belfast, investigating the notion of peripherallity in a European context. O’ Beirn is also an Associate Lecturer in Sculpture at the University of Ulster


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