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The Cosmic Pull

4. Torch Projector

 with Image Disks

Plastic, metal.
On loan from Josephine F. Dickinson.

This inexpensive kids toy is honestly one of the best things I have ever bought, I often lie in bed at night and project it onto my ceiling, flicking through the slides, thinking about things bigger than myself, thinking in awe of all the people who actually work in the space industry doing all these extraordinary things that I will never do. Looking up at the stars in the night sky has always been something that has brought my loud and erratic mind great peace, same with planetariums, they have been a particular obsession of mine ever since a mobile one came to my primary school - I would have lived in there if they’d have let me! Learning about planets and nebulas and black holes, all the cosmic things, absolutely fascinates me.

This projection torch was sort of the catalyst of my now extensive collection of space-related objects - star projectors, moon lights, galaxy orbs, constellation cards, maps, charts, books, posters, artworks, space telescope photos - scattered around my tiny little flat. I started collecting them avidly when I was recovering from breast cancer in the mid-teenies. I wanted to bring those feelings of peace and awe and wonder that I have always felt stargazing, either outside in the dark of night or in a planetarium, into my home and into my everyday life and rituals. It was part of my recovery process really, particularly with objects like this and other projectors I have; they create this intimate, quiet, thoughtful, visually beautiful space to just exist in, one which I find very soothing, and one which distracts me from all my aches and pains and traumas, allowing me some respite from my troublesome flesh prison. Looking at these projection pictures surrounded by darkness makes me, my life and all the problematic things in it feel small and insignificant. I love that feeling. It’s a form of escapism I suppose.

Pretty much every night I either listen to astronomy podcasts, old sci-fi radio shows or just people excitedly delving into otherworldly conspiracy theories and paranormal phenomena with each other, they help relax my mind and fall asleep. When I owned a TV I would fall asleep to Star Trek, X-Files, Red Dwarf and lots of other brilliant sci-fi shows. I have this meditation app as well that has a soundscape of a spaceship engine room, which is oddly satisfying to sleep to. In any case, this little torch, and all the objects I acquired after it, go a long way to helping me feel connected to the mysterious never-ending space that exists outside of our stratosphere, as an observer, a participant, and a creature of Earth.

The Cosmic Pull