April Wernham

Institution: Manchester Metropolitan University

Course: Three Dimensional Design

Title: Title: Orrery & Star Delivery Service

Inspiration: Trundholm sun chariot, Trundholm sun chariot video

Project blog: cinba3ddesign.wordpress.com

The aesthetically quirky Trundholm Sun Chariot is said to represent Bronze Age religion; it was believed that the sun was pulled across the sky each day by a horse. Charmed by this story I began exploring the solar system, discovering the 18th century miniature mechanical device, the Orrery.

I aimed to create an Orrery which modelled the solar system according to Bronze Age conceptions of its existence but which presented itself as a simple and beautiful kinetic object for interaction. Alongside this a narrative emerged. Inspired by the horse’s tale, but most importantly, and quite subtly, by our belittling modern response to it; viewing it as daft and ridiculous. The witty narrative places the story in a modern day context, highlighting how our modern culture can also be seen as ridiculous and daft. Taking these ancient beliefs, representing them in a ‘turn of the century’ scientific instrument, and reinterpreting that using modern day materials and design aesthetics was both challenging and fun.

It also allowed me to gently defend our ancestors, studied by archaeologists with awe and surprised fascination, but really just as daft, just as wise, and just as surprisingly human as us.