The blue of the far distance

I looked up towards the stars ever since I remember.
I am not an astronomer - while I can barely name a few constellations and I confuse satellites for the celestial bodies, stargazing brought me comfort whenever life felt too narrow and patriarchal systems I inhabited felt too oppressive.

When three years ago I left my native Poland and moved to the Hague, I realised that when I look up at the night sky I see nothing – sometimes there would be a single faint star, but more often Elon Musk's SpaceX or nothing at all.
It made me wonder.

The view of the clear night sky is the same as the view of the sky that our ancestors and their ancestors saw, and it was so powerful that the entire religions and belief systems were based on it, the stories of where we came from and where we will go.
What do the starless, polluted night skies say about a human relationship with the concept of connectedness, interdependencies, and the relationship with our ancestors?
This question was a starting point for “The blue of the far distance” - a body of work initiated in 2021 that involves photography, photographic alternative processes, writing and sound. “The blue of the far distance” is my long term research into the topic of human relationship with the starry night sky in the times marked by light pollution.

Throughout my research and making process I visited amateur observatories where light pollution was too strong to see anything on the sky above, hand crafted planetariums built in the intimate settings of living rooms, farms, sheds.
Inspired by the notion of hand crafted planetariums I wonder what it means to create a contained universe of one’s own, on one’s own terms.

“the blue of the far distance” is a hopeful speculation about the place of positive escape accessible and democratically available, a constellation of stargazers, of darknesses and surreal landscapes, of ancient orreries and universes in human scales, a clash between mundane and sublime.


The work was developed under the supervision of Andrea Stultiens and Judith Van Ijken in the Photography & Society Master program at the Royal Academy of the Art in the Hague, 2020-22.It wouldn't be created without a great generosity of those who shared with me their passion for astronomy and planetariums: Jan from Achterhoeks planetarium, Puck and Carilijn from Kaiser organisation in Leiden, Sander from WLS Leiden, Bert Degenaar, Michał Żołnowski.

The work was created with invaluable assistance of Sebastian Gołkowski, guidance by Sybren Kuiper, Hanna Mattess, Aletheia Casey, Shailoh Phillips and tutors at the Photography & Society department at the Royal Academy of the Art in the Hague.

Work created

2021 - 2022