“Time Will Tell” by Ashley Zelinskie

This commissioned sculpture visualizes the curvature of the fabric of space-time around celestial objects as described by Einstein, who visited Yerkes in 1921. A planet and its moon, a star modeled from NASA scans of our own sun, and a black hole are represented, each bending space-time in different ways.

The curvature of the white marble grid visualizes the very fabric of spacetime itself – the cosmic tapestry that permeates the universe. The marble bends and twists, responding to the gravitational influence exerted by the celestial bodies it cradles. Each object traces the bending of light and matter as described by Einstein’s equations, which can be seen engraved on the sides of the sculpture. This artwork invites viewers to meditate on the delicate equilibrium that governs our universe and to contemplate the mysteries of the unknown.

The title of the work, “Time Will Tell,” refers to the enigma of “lambda” within Einstein’s field equations. “Lambda” is linked to the concept of dark energy, a phenomenon that challenges our understanding of the cosmos. Dark energy exists throughout space, but has so far defied direct detection. Its influence strengthens in the absence of matter, driving the Universe’s expansion at an accelerating rate. Leading scientists continue to explore dark energy’s possible connection to fundamental forces and physics yet to be known.

Only time will tell what they discover.

The work is crafted from Olympian Pearl and Strom Grey marble from Vermont, striking blue Azul Macaubas quartzite from Brazil, Quarra Black granite from Quebec, and locally cast bronze.

In the Universe what things there are determine the way space curves.
The way space is curved determines where things are.

-Dr. Amanda Bauer
Yerkes Observatory

Taking space, I bend
What is, like a thought
To my potential

-Dr. Amy Steele
Yerkes Observatory

About the Artist

Ashley Zelinskie is a conceptual artist exploring the process of translating our vast history into an eternal and universal language, while focusing on our place as a small part of a larger whole. Her works span a variety of media, often focusing on visualizing data in abstract forms and finding new and interesting ways to describe complex ideas. She has worked on projects and in collaboration with NASA, the Smithsonian, and Yerkes Observatory.

Her work forms part of the permanent collection of the US Department of State Art in Embassies Program, has been exhibited at Sotheby’s New York and most recently the ArtScience Museum in Singapore. Ashley is a former resident of New Inc.—the New Museum’s Art and Technology Incubator, and is a graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design.

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World’s Tallest Glass Tree Festival 2023