Josiah McElheny


I was working on the final assembly of a sculpture called The End of the Dark Ages. It is part of a larger project that combines astrophysics, cosmology, egalitarian/anarchist politics, Viennese design, and the history of an opera house. Sounds unlikely, or at least complicated, no? I've been particularly interested in how modern cosmology claims that the universe is non-hierarchical, has no structure, and creates an infinite number of equally accurate but different histories of itself. To me, these ideas have a metaphoric resonance with our contemporary social and political imagination. The End of the Dark Ages has a great deal of data based on astronomical observations and theory imbedded in its proportions and detail. The sculpture depicts what was happening at the end of the "dark ages"—a modern cosmological term that describes the time when the first groups of galaxies appeared, occurring because of the subtle imbalances of energy and matter in the early universe. In the end it is simply a sculpture, an abstract object emitting faint light and studded with lots of almost-invisible glass disks and spheres.