Professor Natalie Gosnell’s “The Gift” Now at FAC

Experience "The Gift" at the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center at Colorado College through June 18. Photo by Michael Christiano
Experience "The Gift" at the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center at Colorado College through June 18. Photo by Michael Christiano

“Giving,” in our human experience, is a process that involves two possible roles. The first role is letting go of something that is yours, to benefit another. The second is the role of recipience; receiving something at another’s loss. Humans see this phenomenon everywhere: scaling from birthday gifts to inheritance.

Natalie Gosnell ’08, assistant professor of physics at Colorado College and astrophysics researcher, studied a phenomenon involving a transfer of energy between two stars — one star loses its mass to another. She found that our humanly coined experience of “giving” is reflected in these celestial bodies’ energy exchange, occurring trillions of miles away.

Gosnell explores the humanness of this astrophysical concept in an immersive art installation called “The Gift.” The piece, based on her astrophysics research, is in collaboration with artists Janani Balasubramanian and Andrew Kircher.

With two past debuts in New York, “The Gift” has now come to the Fine Arts Center at Colorado College. Students and locals who enter the exhibit will experience music, art, and a book, all working together to relate this story of the faraway stars to something a little closer to home.

In the field of astrophysics, Gosnell has been working to combine two often-separated components: science and creativity. This piece is a product of those efforts.

“The Gift” is not art attempting to imitate science, nor is it art created by scientific devices. Rather, in “The Gift,” a phenomenon in astrophysics is communicated in an artistic way, making the message human and tangible. Since communication is fundamental to both art and science, the two components become indistinguishable from each other in this piece — rather than art and science acting as competitors, they are two implements with the same goal.

If you have a little time to consider the humanness of giving on a universal scale, experience “The Gift” for yourself. “The Gift” will be at the FAC until June 18, 2023.

Additionally, the co-creators of The Gift are facilitating a workshop on exploring metaphors we use in everyday life, and how we can shift those metaphors to set new futures in motion. Attendees should visit the exhibition prior to the workshop April 8, 5 p.m. and sign up in advance.

Project collaborators Gosnell, Balasubramanian, and Kircher will discussThe Gift” in a panel discussion April 8, 7 p.m. Register in advance.

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