Wonders of the World
2000 – Present Day
The term ‘Seven Wonders of the World’ traditionally refers to a group of structures or sites in the world that represent notable human achievement. In contrast, Tyson uses the phrase more literally as a way of focusing our attention on the world itself. Each work in the series relates to a philosophical, mathematical or scientific idea that is fundamental to our exploration and explanation of the world’s being what it is and behaving the way it does. A key feature of the series is that the works do not merely represent or illustrate the phenomenon in question. They are, rather, a means to activating in the viewer an awareness of that quality. It is in the idea behind the work, rather than the work itself, that one finds wonder. The seven works are concerned with i) the interconnectedness of all things, ii) the ability of brute matter to form structures capable of sentient thought, iii) the infinite variance in scale across the universe from the sub-molecular to the cosmic, iv) the effect of temperature on the state of things, v) the idea of a molecular memory in the endless formal transformations of material, vi) the predictability of cosmic trajectories set against the remote chance of materials meeting at a given point in space and time, and vii) the central constant of the speed of light.