For over a hundred years, commuters and tourists passing through New York City’s Grand Central Station have walked beneath a starry mural. In just a few days, some new constellations will be added to the mural with projection mapped lights and animation. This art installation is called “Unseen Stars” and it celebrates women who have made significant contributions to the field of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Their faces and their accomplishments will be projected onto the ceiling from September 19-21, 2017 for hundreds of thousands of people to see, in order to celebrate the role women play in advancing these fields.
“Unseen Stars” was commissioned by GE as part of their ongoing Balance the Equation initiative to help close the gender gap in STEM. While the initiative is mostly focused on internal hiring and retention goals for the company — filling 20,000 technical positions with women and achieving a 50:50 representation among all entry level technical positions by the year 2020 — the company also wanted to publicly celebrate the historically overlooked work of women. GE wants more young women to consider science and engineering careers. The hope is that when young women see the “Unseen Stars,” they can see themselves joining their ranks.
The seven minute show features twelve women who have done amazing things for the advancement of science and technology. Their accomplishments span a number of disciplines and include women who have discovered new chemical elements, revolutionized cancer treatment, earned the National Medal of Science in Engineering, and more. These women represents scientists and engineers from both the past and the present who have not yet been fully celebrated. In this way, the hundreds of thousands of people who pass through Grand Central Station every day can learn about these women who they might not have heard of before.
“Unseen Stars” will be the first art installation of its kind to appear in the historic terminal. To create the projection mapped animation, GE teamed up with Obscura, a design company that specializes in large scale projection mapping. Lighting up the 275 foot long, 120 foot wide arched ceiling is no easy task. Obscura starts with a laser scan to create a 3D model of the space, so that the projected images align perfectly and that the designers can incorporate the architectural details. The show they’ve created animates the stars in the existing mural, morphing them into new constellations.
This light show will only be gracing the ceiling of Grand Central Station for a short time, so if you’re in New York City between September 19 – 21 be sure to check out this celebration of women in science.
“Unseen Stars” Dates and Times:
● Tuesday, September 19 (7:30 p.m. – 11:59 p.m.)
● Wednesday, September 20 (5:42 a.m. – 11:59 p.m.)
● Thursday, September 21 (5:42 a.m. – 11:59 p.m.)