Passionate, scientific poetry
The word 'Awe', which has no literal translation into Danish, implies the feeling of wonder in the face of the world's beauty; the joy of being alive and the “awe” of the greatness of the universe. 'Awe and wonder of the world' is the starting point for communication designer Cecilie Vår Norsahl’s new magazine concept, which aims to disseminate the knowledge of ArtScience.
"It's a genre that can be of great importance in exposing humanity’s wicked problems: What do we do about climate change; what is our relationship with the outside world, and what power does man have over his own destiny – do we have any power at all? The magazine is my recommendation for how to communicate the great mechanisms of the universe in an intelligent fashion through communication design," says the newly qualified communication designer from Design School Kolding.
Sense the world
The young designer has collaborated with The Museum of Awe, a museum that does not exist physically, only as a pop-up concept. And yes, it is very abstract, but the main idea is to translate the immense incomprehensible scientific issues related to the universe into something tangible:
“I established contact with David Delgado and Dan Goods from the museum, when they guest lectured at Design School Kolding during my bachelor studies. They are trained in art and design and also work as strategists at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. For example together they have created the installation ’Metamorphosis’, which gives you the opportunity to enter the tail of a comet – where art allows you to feel something that you should not really be able to experience. I was deeply fascinated by the kind of emotional understanding of complicated scientific data," says Cecilie Vår Norsahl.
Fairly large publication
A format of 50x70 centimetres is unusually large for a magazine; it is for example twice the size of the publication in which this article is printed; but the size has been deliberately chosen to emphasize the tactile, emotional dimension of the content. Cecilie Vår Norsahl has edited and collected works from artists around the world, and she has managed the project and the layout of the final product, which will initially be printed in 50 exclusive copies. "The format of the magazine allows the individual works of art to be unfolded as posters. It gives those who receive the magazine the opportunity to make pop-up exhibitions about the subject wherever they are in the world. Thus I've tried to exceed the limits for what a magazine can do," says Cecilie Vår Norsahl.
The magical possibilities
The designer wants the magazine to offer, if not all, then part of humanity the ability to re-experience Awe. “We lose some of the ability to experience Awe when we only focus on our everyday life. That makes it difficult to relate to the big picture. But just imagine: All human knowledge only amounts to 0.4 per cent of everything there is to know about the universe. That creates two sample spaces: One, humans are insignificant. Two, we are in possession of magical possibilities provided we are able to make some of the invisible things visible, and maybe ponder more on where we come from, our place in the universe and our own mortality,” she says. This is the kind of visibility that the giant magazine will help to create, through a poetic and artistic dissemination of the heaviest sciences.