And then there was darkness.

A triptych that acts as a visual simile between cosmic time and divine time. 

On the front panels, I represented the Primordial Era, which spans from the beginning of time with the Big Bang to the period we now inhabit. This period is considered the peak of cosmic evolution, in that nothing new will ever form in terms of stars and planets and it also means that we are at the peak of our understanding and our rationalizing of the universe.

Since our existence coincides with the climax of this evolution, I chose to place the light on the front so as to create a reverse revelatory experience. This opposes the convention of religious triptychs which rely on building up an anticipated moment before revealing the inside. It also touches on a significant contrast between religion and science, the former relying on the hidden the mysterious the unanswerable while the latter strives for exposure and revelation.

The units of light act as a simplified mapping of the stars and their evolution within the expansion of space. This is made understandable by the timeline situated in specific areas that indicates the beginning of the Big Bang (15 billion years ago) to the evolution of our solar system (7 billion years ago).

1234 The central section indicates a threshold that once crossed by the opening of the panels will take us to the second cosmic era, which is the Degenerate Era. This central graph indicates the current state of our star, the sun. Its current state in terms of its temperature, radius, and luminosity is clearly stable and hospitable to life on earth. However, within 5.5 billion years the sun will undergo intense heating and expansion, eventually engulfing earth.

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On the inside panels I represented the Degenerate Era, the Black Hole Era, and the Dark Era while drawing parallels to Christian philosophy through the main text. At a distance the visual and verbal narrative seem consistent. However once you approached it and studied the details, it creates a beautifully unsettling disruption that forces a parallel to be drawn between the fate of “believers/non believers” and the fate of the stars. The main reason they seem to be working in synchronicity is because both are following or leading infinitely deterministic paths.

10The left panel represents the Degenerate Era, which is when the stars use up all their energy and their light fails to shine. If we were to humanize this process it would be considered the stage where the stars are waiting their ultimate death; death in the sense that they will undergo changes that would completely rid them of their current state. This, I correlated with passages from the bible that narrate the immediate fate after the world ends, which is the anticipated judgment. So both are are moments of anticipation. The passage states:

“I declare to you that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed—in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. Then we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil. On that day, people will give account for every careless word they speak, for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned. And the dead, whether great or small, will stand before the throne, and their book will be opened. They will be be judged by what was written in the book, according to what they had done”.

1718On the middle panel I used passages that narrate the fate of those destined to an intermediary state of purgatory with visuals of the Black Hole Era. Both are a transient preparation for the final eternal stage. They are also the time of cleansing. In the former it is indicated in the purification of ones soul. While in the latter it is indicated in the function of black holes, as decomposers of cosmic waste. The passage I chose states the following:

“I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts. Then flew one of the seraphim to me, having in his hand a burning coal which he had taken with tongs from the altar. And he touched my mouth, and said: “Behold, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away, and your sin forgiven.”

1921For the final panel, I represented the Dark Era which is when black holes will ultimately disappear leaving the universe nearly empty with a few particles drifting in an endless void. For this stage I chose to represent nothing and correlated this absence with a passage that indicates the final fate of the believers/non believers. The passage goes as follows:

“He will render to each one according to his works: to those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, there will be wrath and fury.These are the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, the  murderers, the sexually immoral, sorceress, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur. To those who with patience seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life.Their dying bodies will be swallowed up in victory. O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting? For sin is the sting that results in death, and the law gives sin its power. To them, the lord Jesus Christ will say “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?””

This passage ultimately dictates the beginning of an eternal end from a strictly moralistic perspective. It is here where the parallel between the two different temporalities, cosmic time and divine time, separate. It becomes clear that one is moralistically deterministic while the other is objectively, or indifferently deterministic. They seem no longer compatible with one another, as their complete independence becomes palpable.

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