Fulldome imagery

“Einstein’s theory of relativity in short describes a colourful and amazing world where universes explode, space collapses into bottomless holes, time sags and slows near a planet, and the unbounded extensions of interstellar space ripple and sway like the surface of the sea…”

Carlos Rovelli, Seven Brief Lessons on Physics.


Libby Heaney

December 2015:  Michaela French, DPhil student and founder of fulldome research group in IED led a brief on More is Different exploring the influence of starlight on human behaviour.

By the Light of the Stars was a five week project drawing on the fundamental laws of physics to reflect upon the value and importance of starlight to humankind.  The project investigates the profound scientific, cultural and environmental implications of starlight in contemporary society.

Throughout history starlight has been a source of fascination; stars bridge earth-bound experience and infinity; they are a foundation for cultural storytelling, navigation, imagination and scientific investigation.

Starlight has always been a source of information and through spectroscopy, photometry and stellar astronomy, contemporary science harnesses starlight to reveal an ever-expanding and increasingly complex vision of the universe.

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Working in groups of three, the students were asked to produce a short fulldome film, which reflects upon the value, impact and importance of starlight to humankind.

Their work was grounded in the fundamental laws of physics, in part through discussions with Dr. Andrew Pontzen, and developed through an iterative design method.

In this brief it was important for the students to consider how the human experience of watching Fulldome films aligns with the cosmological models of the universe, whose equations exclude humans.  IED student Kim Yip Tong reflects, drawing on OOO philosophy:

As Carl Sagan’s simply puts it “We are all made of Star Stuff”.

This explanation, this knowledge of our time directly relates to Levi R. Bryant’s onticological vision of the world.  Recent scientific discoveries have allowed us to go back in time, with the theory of the Big Bang as the beginning of Space-time. We now know that our planet and our sun are only one among many with no superior importance. The humble vision of our existence in Bryant’s onticology of all objects existing equally is in a paradoxical way directly related to our current knowledge in time.  Time and knowledge being objects themselves.

Bryant states that humanities have tend to focus on content rather than on materials.  By having a process-led approach to our project we have allowed the materials and experimentations to inform us on the story we are telling. The physical properties of light, water and waves, rocks, buckets and household items we had around us have helped us shape our narrative instead of proceeding the other way round which would have been to start with a precise concept or story.

The screen or the Dome are as much part of the experience as the content. The form we have given to our animation is as important as the subject.  All three objects, the Dome, the content and the subject are of equal matter in the experience lived by the viewer in the planetarium.

The final films were screened at a private viewing at the Peter Harrison Planetarium.

Fulldome imagery

Amanda Olesen, Jordan Gamble and Anna Ridler


Ruiheng Sun, Georgia Ward Dyer and Anna Dakin create a story board for their films.


Amanda Olesen, Jordan Gamble and Anna Ridler investigate the construction of space imagery, revealing underlying data sets through animated visual manipulation.


Maria Euler, Yinan Song and Annelise Keestra combine political and philosophical speeches and texts to explore the line between knowledge and the unknown.