Rogue Objects

Rogue Objects is a continuation of my work in Heisenberg. Using the same form (audio AR) and many of the same themes around uncertainty and loneliness, the work advances Heisenberg's formal, political, and scientific explorations. Rogue Objects is currently in development through my Van Lier fellowship at the Public Theater and my residency with the brown dwarf astrophysics group at the Hayden Planetarium/American Museum of Natural History. See the trailer below from a recent workshop of the piece at the University of Colorado—Colorado Springs.

Project Description

“I have thought about this question for a long time. That is, whether I would prefer to be conscious or unconscious.”

Rogue Objects is an intimate, large-scale audio augmented reality (AR) experience created by Janani Balasubramanian in association with the Hayden Planetarium/American Museum of Natural History and the Public Theater. Its narrator is a brown dwarf--a lonely celestial object, neither planet nor star--who struggles with feeling conscious in an unconscious universe. Hundreds of participants are invited to assemble in large public spaces where they hear guided instruction, playful storytelling, and original music via audio AR headsets. The piece is at once an experiment in the limits of empathy, a poetic engagement with astrophysics, and a game.

Rogue Objects is informed by the work of the brown dwarf astrophysics group at the Hayden Planetarium/American Museum of Natural History, with whom I have been in residence for two years. Brown dwarfs themselves are liminal objects, somewhere in between stars and planets with respect to mass and brightness. Their formation stories frequently involve exile from stellar and planetary systems, and thus offer us a new scientific and metaphorical space in which to understand selfhood, otherness, and the universe at large. Brown dwarfs are celestial objects for the rest of us.