It’s a little known fact that the North Star that was overhead when the pyramids were built is not the same star as our North Star now (Polaris). And in about a thousand years, a completely different star will be our North Star. Because of a slight wobble in the Earth’s rotation, the pole star position is not fixed. Our “guiding light” changes. We’re curious how a transition on the celestial scale would be marked and celebrated here on Earth.
Jump!Star is that celebration. It’s an initiative to work with communities to invent the traditions – a thousand years in advance – to be passed down to commemorate the eventual changing of the North Star. Plans for this intergalactic event happened in Kansas throughout 2017-2019. The rural nature of the Flint Hills region nurtures a community of trust. The urban nature of Wichita creates cultural vibrancy. The combined strengths of these forces, in conjunction with satellites in New York, Los Angeles and Berlin, constructs a model of cooperation and collaboration that is the generative foundation of this project.
Thanks to the support of the National Endowment for the Arts Our Town Grant Program and the Kansas Creative Arts Industries Commission, Symphony in the Flint Hills in collaboration with Harvester Arts and Chamber Music at The Barn worked to present Jump!Star as a “social sculpture” conceived and directed by American artist George Ferrandi. We prototyped, researched, and developed the project over the course of two years from 2017 to 2019. We developed facets of the celebration with neighbors, community members, artists, teachers and renowned scientists like astrophysicist Jana Grcevich of the American Museum of Natural History in New York and climatologist Sonali McDermid of New York University. Composer Jherek Bischoff is writing a symphony under Jump!Star’s themes. Our Kansas hosts presented opportunities to work with international artists to choreograph the dances (Alan Calpe), establish the rhythms (Jee Young Sim), and sing the anthems (Mirah) of the shifting star. George Ferrandi made large-scale, illuminated paper sculptures using Japanese “Nebuta” techniques to celebrate each of the eventual pole stars.
Ultimately, the Kansas weather had other plans and the culminating signature event for Jump!Star was canceled due to a freak tornado. Jump!Star is currently looking for venues and communities to host its debut. Stay tuned…
To learn more, visit jumpstar.love.
The project takes the form of a series of themed “Constellates.” During these Constellates, Jump!Star introduces participants to the project and the Jump!Star crew, and invite you to join us in inventing the cultural traditions and actions that will mark the changing of the North Star at our culminating event and beyond. More detailed information about each Constellate is in the “itinerary” section below and on the “Happenings” page. They are:
CONSTELLATE 3: SCULPTURE + RITUAL
CONSTELLATE 4: TRADITIONAL FOOD + FUTURE FARMS
Jump!Star is an ever-evolving social sculpture project so we will update this page with dates and descriptions once they are announced. Be sure to check our HAPPENING page as well for events related to Jump!Star.