‘Astrophotography…The Traditional Measure of Photography Speed in Astronomy…’ by Siegfried Marx (1987) 2006 by the artist Cerith Wyn Evans functions as an introduction to DLA Piper Series: Constellations, a free display of work from Tate’s collection which you can see on the first and second floors.
The chandelier, hand-made in Venice, creates a sense of theatrical occasion and the pulses of light are triggered by a hidden Morse code unit. They spell out an extract from a book with the same title as the artwork while the text is displayed simultaneously on the nearby flat screen.
Siegfried Marx’s book examines research related to the beginnings of astrophotography, a specialised type of photography which records the night sky and astronomical objects. The research revealed that microscopic inconsistencies in the photographic emulsion used in the process, caused for example by dust, had led to mistakes in recording and naming of stars and galaxies.