The Art of Zoom-Out
Artists have been helping humanity Zoom-Out for millennia.
Art can help us to see more clearly, see our place in nature and society and ultimately what it means to be human.
Art can remind us how interconnected we are – that each of us is a small and beautiful part in a much broader system.
Art can bring things into clear, fresh and new perspectives or resonate profoundly with the deepest perspectives within us.
This page is a curiously, curated, collection of images, words, symbols, music, humour,
metaphors, sounds, feelings, thoughts, imaginings and other perspective-inducing artefacts.
Let’s start at the begining…
Bhimbetka and Daraki-Chattan Cupules (290–700,000 BC)
Discovered in two ancient quartzite caves in the Madhya Pradesh region of central India.
This is classed as the earliest known piece of art to be discovered.
A “cupule” is a hollow in hard rock believed to be made by a human hand through percussive blows and is not thought to be functional but symbolic in purpose.
Sulawesi Cave Art (37,900 BC)
Discovered in Sulawesi, Indonesia, it has become a treasure among prehistoric artworks and something of a revolution in the study of the evolution of mankind. It is the second oldest painting in the world after the EL Castillo cave paintings which have been dated to around 39,000 BC.
To see a World in a Grain of Sand
And a Heaven in a Wild Flower,
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand
And Eternity in an hour.
– William Blake, from Auguries of Innocence, 1803
The Ancient of Days is a design by William Blake, originally published as the frontispiece to a 1794 work, Europe a Prophecy. It draws its name from one of God’s titles in the Book of Daniel and shows Urizen crouching in a circular design with a cloud-like background. His outstretched hand holds a compass over the darker void below.
The story of life is quicker
Than the wink of an eye
The story of love is hello and goodbye
Until we meet again.
– Jimi Hendrix, 1970
I never saw a wild thing sorry for itself.
A small bird will drop frozen dead from a bough
without ever having felt sorry for itself.
– D H Lawrence (1885 – 1930)
Wishes of an Elderly Man
I wish I loved the Human Race;
I wish I loved its silly face;
I wish I loved the way it walks;
I wish I loved the way it talks;
And when I’m introduced to one
I wish I thought What Jolly Fun!
– Sir Walter Raleigh,
Wishes of an Elderly Man, Wished at a Garden Party
The Blue Marble
This image literally caused the whole world to Zoom-Out.
The Blue Marble is an image of the Earth made on December 7, 1972, by the crew of the Apollo 17 spacecraft travelling toward the moon. The photograph was taken at a distance of about 29,000 kilometres (18,000 miles) from the Earth’s surface. It is one of the most reproduced images in human history.
My Own Epitaph
Life is a jest; and all things show it.
I thought so once; but now I know it.
– John Gay (1685–1732)
Pale Blue Dot
Pale Blue Dot is a photograph of planet Earth taken on February 14, 1990, by the Voyager 1 space probe from a record distance of about 6 billion kilometres (3.7 billion miles, 40.5 AU), as part of the Family Portrait series of images of the Solar System.
In the photograph, Earth’s apparent size is less than a pixel; the planet appears as a tiny dot against the vastness of space, among bands of sunlight scattered by the camera’s optics.
Voyager 1, which had completed its primary mission and was leaving the Solar System, was commanded by NASA to turn its camera around and take one last photograph of Earth across a great expanse of space, at the request of astronomer and author Carl Sagan.
… in case you missed it…
What are days for?
Days are where we live.
They come, they wake us
Time and time over.
They are to be happy in:
Where can we live but days?
Ah, solving that question
Brings the priest and the doctor
In their long coats
Running over the fields.
– Philip Larkin
“In this short Life”
In this short Life that only lasts an hour
How much – how little – is within our power
– Emily Dickinson
Bill Hicks – “It’s just a ride”
Not Waving but Drowning
Nobody heard him, the dead man,
But still he lay moaning:
I was much further out than you thought
And not waving but drowning.
Poor chap, he always loved larking
And now he’s dead
It must have been too cold for him his heart gave way,
Oh, no no no, it was too cold always
( Still the dead one lay moaning)
I was much too far out all my life
And not waving but drowning.
– Stevie Smith, 1957
George Carlin on Saving the Planet
Born on a Monday,
Christened on Tuesday,
Married on Wednesday,
Took ill on Thursday,
Grew worse on Friday,
Died on Saturday,
Buried on Sunday,
That was the end,
Of Solomon Grundy.
– Anon, English nursery rhyme
James Martin Fenton FRSL FRSA (born 25 April 1949, Lincoln) is an English poet, journalist and literary critic. He is a former Oxford Professor of Poetry.
The Time Machine – H.G. Wells
The Time Machine is a science fiction novel by H. G. Wells, published in 1895 and written as a frame narrative. The work is generally credited with the popularization of the concept of time travel by using a vehicle that allows an operator to travel purposely and selectively forwards or backwards in time. The term “time machine”, coined by Wells, is now almost universally used to refer to such a vehicle.
The Time Machine has been adapted into three feature films of the same name, as well as two television versions, and a large number of comic book adaptations. It has also indirectly inspired many more works of fiction in many media productions.
Cosmic soup did come from a tin,
A tiny, teeny, tiny tin.
And before that tin, there was no tin,
No tin, no tin, nothin’.
So before that tin, there was nothin’ to put IT in.
In fact, there was nothing to put nothing in either.
For nothing was not even an ether.
And the ether was not nothing either.
So there was a time for the tin,
But no time before tin.
For the time that we’re in,
Did come from the tin that we’re in.
Well does all this matter?
Well it’s why we’re matter!
And if you don’t like soup,
There’s toast to look forward to!
– Rob Aston, Zoomologist, 04 Nov 2007
(at 03:50 am I woke up with this in my head – unedited)
Oceans new beat oceans past.
Across the seas of moments lost.
Walk with me in the here and now.
Discover the golden life in the cold rock.
Cliffs above us at once may fall.
The ground beneath our feet.
Will beat a hasty retreat.
But this day will last forever.
Lovers transcend the sands end.
– Rob Aston, 29 Aug 2009
(written on Sansend beach, North Yorkshire coast, England)