Jessica MacMillan (b. 1987, New Hampshire, USA) is an artist and amateur astronomer based in Oslo, Norway. Through kinetic sculpture, 3D animation, and installation, MacMillan’s work investigates concepts in astronomy and planetary science. MacMillan holds an MFA in fine arts from the Academy of Fine Art in Oslo (2016) and has studied astronomy through Arizona State University. Her works have been exhibited previously at BOA Galleri in Oslo, Norway; Galleri 54 in Gothenburg, Sweden; Skaftfell Center for Visual Art, Seydisfjordur, Iceland; Kunstnernes Hus, Oslo, Norway; and Kunsthal Charlottenborg, Copenhagen, Denmark, among others. MacMillan has participated in residencies at ÖRES: Örö Island Residency Program, Finland; NBK Ny-Ålesund research station residency, Svalbard; and Skaftfell Center for Visual Art, Seydisfjordur, Iceland. In winter 2021, she will be artist-in-residence at Artica Svalbard, Longyearbyen.
Strawberry Moon is one in a series of 3D animations called Everyday Moons that brings us to the orbits of Earth, Mars, and Uranus, where hypothetical new ‘sculpture-moons’ have been created for different planets in the solar system: for Earth, a moon of porcelain coffee cups; for Mars, a moon of strawberries; and for Uranus, a moon of wool socks. The videos visualize the phenomenon of gravitational collapse—the contraction of an astronomical object due to the influence of its own gravity, which tends to draw matter inward toward the center of gravity. In other words, it is that which makes things spherical in space. The imagery in the videos was developed in collaboration with Dr. Charles H. Lineweaver, a professor at the Australian National University’s Planetary Science Institute (PSI). Working together, the artist and astronomer speculated what a landscape on each of these moons might look like—for example, what sort of atmosphere would a moon of strawberries need in order to keep them from freezing instantly in space? Many of the scenes for this video were first sketched while MacMillan was in residence at ÖRES for two months over the winter of 2019 (with no grocery store and limited boat service, and therefore, limited fresh fruit.)