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to see the contributed constellations go to Project Syncoptic Constellations.

Constellations are the invention of human imagination, not of nature. They are an expression of the human desire to impress its own order upon the apparent chaos of the night sky.


The constellation system that we use today has grown from a list of 48 constellations published around AD 150 by the Greek scientist Ptolemy in an influential book called the Almagest. Since then, various astronomers have added another 40 constellations, filling the gaps between Ptolemyís figures and populating the region around the south celestial pole that was below the horizon of the Greeks. The result is a total of 88 constellations that all astronomers accept by international agreement.

The major developments evidently took place farther east, around the Tigris and Euphrates rivers in what is now Iraq. The Babylonians,at the time of Homer and Hesiod had a well-established system of constellations of the zodiac, the strip of sky traversed by the Sun, Moon and planets. We know this from a star list written in cuneiform on a clay tablet dated to around 700 BC. Scholars call this list the mul-Apin series, from the first name recorded on the tablet. The Babylonian constellations had many similarities with those we know today, but they are not all identical. From other texts, historians have established that the constellations known to the Babylonians actually originated much earlier, with their ancestors the Sumerians before 2000 BC.

In the last century, John Cage, Walter Benjamin, Paul Klee, Daniel Libeskind, Iannis Xenakis and others have created projects and works around or attached to this concept.

Ideas are to objects as constellations are to stars.

Rejecting the structured and mediated concept of “totality” in favor of a constantly shifting “constellation, wherein the relation between objects and the perspective of the viewer is always in a state of flux, ” Ideas are to objects as constellations are to stars. This means, in the first place,that they are neither their concepts nor their laws. It is the function of concepts to group phenomena together, and the division which is brought about within them thanks to the distinguishing power of the intellect is all the more significant in that it brings about two things at a single stroke: the salvation of the phenomena and the representation of ideas.“

“The Origins of German Tragic Drama”

—- Libarynth > Main Web > TWikiUsers > YonVisell > ProjectSyncoptic > Constellations r9 - 01 Oct 2003

constellations.txt · Last modified: 2007/06/08 18:50 (external edit)