The Space Whale is a monumental stained glass and steel sculpture of two humpback whales, mother diving down to the Earth’s surface supported by her calf, evoking the dynamic bond between child and parent, our intrinsic need to preserve our planet and our shared dreams as we look upon the stars. At 40-feet tall, the pair appear to be visitors from afar diving through our atmosphere, adorned with Tiffany stained glass, glistening like gems in the sunlight.
The whales are built around a steel superstructure, similar to Bliss Dance by Marco Cochrane and The Kelpies by Andy Scott. They are designed to look as though they are floating above our heads, with the entire support structure hidden in the mother’s fin and the body of the calf.
Digital artist Android Jones designed the stained glass panels that cover the mother whale, and Matthew Schultz designed the baby's glass panels. Starting at the chin and continuing to the tip of the fluke, 3,200 stained glass panels with over 90,000 individual pieces of glass tell the story of the birth of time and matter, to the creation of life, through the development of the mind, and into the distant future. Each glass panel is incredibly durable, using a mix of traditional stained glass methods reinforced by a pair of CNC steel sheets, with environmentally friendly silicone replacing lead solder.
The duo sing whale songs, play physics lectures, and invite interaction, creating an ethereal experience for participants, as they feel the gentle songs move through their bodies and the surrounding earth. As the sun moves through the piece, beautiful, refractive light dances gently around the base of the whales. At night, internal light guides participants through the story written in glass, as you listen to whale songs intertwined with physics lectures on space, matter and time. Creating a gathering place for scientists, artists, engineers and environmentalists to discuss the great ideas and marvel at the beauty of our natural world. (Although the City of Reno decided to have the instillation without sound, it is available for future instillations).
The Space Whale is art for social and scientific change. A focal point to inspire the dreamers, thinkers and builders to convene, discuss and build our future together.