Introduction

Since 2004 New Mexico artist Bill Dolson has been working on an ambitious series of Land Art projects whose purpose is to create a heightened awareness of the extent of human impact on the environment. These works use dynamic geophysical events to create spectacular ephemeral experiences which highlight the extent of our environmental intervention. Many environmental changes lie below the temporal threshold of our senses, making events such as global warming difficult to experience directly. By the time the full effect of these changes is readily apparent, it will literally be "too late". These works attempt to provide a direct experience of the magnitude of human intervention in the environment, thereby granting validity and a sense of urgency to recognizing changes which lie below our threshold of perception.

Bill calls these the Large Scale: Sky Ground Works. They employ naturally occurring geophysical phenomena which are controlled to create obvious, deliberate mark making in the atmosphere. Examples include clouds formed in geometric patterns, drawing with dust storms, and large scale ephemeral sculpture made using controlled burns. Perhaps the most spectacular of these is the Reentry Series, which creates drawings in the upper atmosphere made by artificial meteor showers. This would ultimately be done as a public art project over major cities. The first Reentry event is intended to be done over New Mexico, using the facilities of the New Mexico Spaceport.

Bill did extensive development of the Reentry series during a year-long residency at the Eyebeam Art and Technology Center in New York City in 2005-2006. This work included substantial scientific and technical development of the concept with staff from NASA and Los Alamos National Laboratories among others. He then formed a 501 c(3), the Heaven & Earth Foundation, (a New Mexico corporation) to act as an enabling vehicle for these and other similar Public Art projects. The world's leading meteor astronomer, Dr. Peter Jenniskens, has agreed to act as chief scientist for the project. Bill is currently working with Creative Time in New York City to realize the Reentry Series. This is anticipated to be a multi-year effort. Creative Time is a leading producer of ground-breaking and challenging public art projects, including the Tribute in Light at the World Trade Center site.

Over the last few months, Bill, Heaven & Earth and Creative Time staff have developed a presentation intended for major aerospace firms who can provide the technical requirements and support needed for the Reentry project. We are currently seeking a grant from to support development of Heaven & Earth Foundation by funding staff and to provide travel and expenses to present the project to the aerospace community, using the presentation we have developed. A copy of the presentation is available on this link.

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