Syntax of an astrolabe
Site: Harvard Museum of History of Science
City/State: Cambridge, MA
The exhibition was based on Liuni’s MIT Architecture Thesis, a utopian museum design for exhibiting Islamic astrolabes, ancient astronomical instruments. The thesis was based on the study of one of the Persian astrolabes in the Harvard collection which became the focus of the exhibition. In the foyer of the Harvard museum the instrument was displayed alone in the center of the gallery a double height space, almost 23ft tall. The left and right side the space were filled with two large scale suspended sculptures which represented two of the mathematical concepts related with the displayed astrolabe. The gallery was design to become a space of perfect geometries that could be measured through the red strings or circles highlighting the key points of their mathematical representation. Immobile and perfect as the Islamic universe that the astrolabe was used to measure in his historical and scientific context. The exhibit encouraged visitors to go beyond the Orientalist fascination for an ancient and beautifully crafted object and reflect on an historical moment where the Middle East was the cradle of science and technology.
See Interview for the Harvard Collection of Historical Scientific Instruments: https://chsi.harvard.edu/exhibit-focus-francesca-liuni