Sarah Rosalena: Standard Candle
May 20–June 18, 2023 | Saturdays and Sundays, 1–5 pm | Mount Wilson Observatory

In collaboration with Mount Wilson Observatory and Carnegie Observatories, LACMA’s Art + Technology Lab is pleased to present Standard Candle by Sarah Rosalena. Staged in the observatory’s 100-inch Hooker telescope, the exhibition uses instrumentation and darkness as a lens for examining women’s labor and colonialism, and their role in the advancement of western scientific thought and the imaging of space. 

Standard Candle features a series of woven and beaded textiles made using computer code and based on images captured by the 100-inch telescope. The exhibition is organized around a body of work developed by the artist in response to the labor of female “computers”—women who worked at observatories undertaking the painstaking tasks of graphing data and performing calculations and predictions using glass plate photographic images. The black box exhibition explores this labor through process, material, and observation to generate knowledge and origins of scientific discovery. 

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Sarah Rosalena, Exit VAR!, 2022, © Sarah Rosalena, photo © Museum Associates/LACMA, photo credit: Ian Byars-Gamber
Sarah Rosalena, Exit VAR!, 2022, © Sarah Rosalena, photo © Museum Associates/LACMA, photo credit: Ian Byers-Gamber


The Art + Technology Lab is presented by

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The Art + Technology Lab is made possible by Snap Inc.

Additional support is provided by SpaceX.

The Lab is part of The Hyundai Project: Art + Technology at LACMA, a joint initiative exploring the convergence of art and technology.

Seed funding for the development of the Art + Technology Lab was provided by the Los Angeles County Quality and Productivity Commission through the Productivity Investment Fund and LACMA Trustee David Bohnett.
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About the Artist
Sarah Rosalena (Wixárika) is an interdisciplinary artist and researcher based in Los Angeles. Her work deconstructs technology with material interventions, creating new narratives for hybrid objects that function between human/nonhuman, ancient/future, and handmade/autonomous, beyond power structures rooted in colonialism. They collapse binaries and borders, creating new epistemologies between Earth and Space. She is Assistant Professor of Art at UC Santa Barbara in Computational Craft and Haptic Media. She was recently given the Creative Capital Award; the LACMA Art + Technology Lab Grant; the Marciano Art Foundation Artadia Award; the Steve Wilson Award from Leonardo, the International Society for Art, Sciences, and Technology; and the Carolyn Glasoe Bailey Art Prize. Recent solo shows include Clockshop and Blum & Poe gallery, with upcoming exhibitions at the Museum of Contemporary Art Santa Barbara and the Columbus Museum of Art. 

About Mount Wilson Observatory
Mount Wilson Institute operates the Mount Wilson Observatory, a world heritage location that continues to be used for science, education, and public benefit, as mandated in the 1904 foundational documents by George Ellery Hale under the auspices of the Carnegie Institution for Science in Washington. MWI took on this responsibility in 1991 at a time when the bright Los Angeles sky and the need to work at the cutting edge led modern astronomy to high Chilean deserts.

Mount Wilson Observatory is a singular scientific landmark. Revolutionary knowledge of the structure of the cosmos was discovered there. (See “About Carnegie Observatories” below.) 

The Observatory is also a component of the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument. It is a science park in a native forest at the top of a steep mountain with commanding views, with domes, towers, historic science sites, and custom architectural buildings sited around the grounds. For more information, visit their website

Mount Wilson Observatory is honored to host Sarah Rosalena and Standard Candle.

About Carnegie Observatories
Founded in 1904 by the solar astronomer George Ellery Hale, Carnegie Observatories is the oldest organization in Los Angeles exclusively devoted to science. Virtually every major discovery in modern astronomy—the size of our Milky Way, galaxies beyond the Milky Way, the expansion of the universe, dark matter—has been by Carnegie scientists. Today, Carnegie Observatories continues to be a world destination for astronomy, supporting landmark research on galaxy and star formation, black holes, gravitational waves, and other mysteries of the cosmos. For more information, visit their website

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