an Azanian word to describe the mystic qualities of the space upon the tops of mountains.

Rainbow Machine Mk.ii

lens 7
lens 8
lens above
EH lens 1
EH lens 2
EH lens 4
EH lens 4`
EH lens 6
EH Lens 3
EH lens 5

Rainbow Machine Mk.ii

This prototype optical instrument was developed in collaboration with senior scientists from the South African Astronomical Observatory. The instrument was designed and machined in the same workshop and materials as the instruments which attach to the Southern African Large Telescope - the largest optical telescope in the southern hemisphere. The instrument is a custom designed lens housing and fibre optic illuminator made specially for my series of installations "Event Horizon."

The Rainbow Machine was designed in close collaboration with scientists and engineers that work directly on the SALT Telescope (the largest Optical Telescope in the Southern Hemisphere) .

Dr Lisa Crause and I spoke intensely about optical engineering, astronomy, the intersections of Art and Science and of course SALT which she has been working on for over a decade. Lisa and I collaborated on the design of the first installations and a short film shot for Event Horizons most recent show at the Valkhof Museums group exhibition "Into the Black Hole" 2023. Into the Black Hole - Valkhof Museum

Lisa often showed me the optics lab at the observatory and allowed me to experiment with lenses and equipment used for scientific experimentation. At SALT she assisted my team and I in shooting exclusive scenes of the telescope and surrounding landscape of the Karoo, granting us unprecedented levels of access for outsiders. This knowledge and experience was invaluable in developing the concepts and ideas of the installation and its underlying concepts. 

Faried Ebrahim and I collaborated on the designs for the instrument itself using the diffraction gratings given to me by Lisa. Faried's knowledge is paramount and he designs the instrumentation which is attached to SALT. Together we discussed various possibilities for designing and machining an instrument in aluminium based on a 3d printed prototype I designed and built myself.

With Faried's help this design was updated and significantly improved before being machined in the same workshop and by the same personnel which machine the instruments for SALT. 

Hitesh Gajjar, head of instrumentation was extremely supportive of the project and understood its potential to share the magic of astronomy with wider audiences and to deepen the connection between art and science within the local scene. With his blessings Craig Sass and his machinist Stefano Adonis oversaw the machining of the aluminium parts which would become part of the Rainbow machine.