Paterson’s device Dying Star Doorbell is connected to a door which when opened triggers a sound representing the death throes of a star in a distant part of the universe, captured through radio telescope technology. The sound is faint and undramatic – a crackling hum (apparently close to middle C) – and it poetically records the loss of a distant body whose light has ceased to be visible on earth.
The work is related to other projects, All the Dead Stars (2009) and The Dying Stars Letters (2011) in which the artist, having recorded each known dying star event, with the help of her astronomy and cosmology contacts around the world, then sent a handwritten message to the gallerist at the Haunch of Venison Gallery in London announcing the demise. The gallery installation consisted of a display of the postcards, letters and envelopes arranged on a shelf. These works are part of Paterson’s interest in using art to bring into human experience and consciousness the vastness, complexity and drama of the cosmos.