“A passerby, an interloper, traveling through the white space of the world will leave behind traces of color. But colors fade, white remains, and space is common company to a disconnected, passing star.”
The comet Hyakutake was lesser known to the public than Hale-Bop, even though they passed by Earth nigh-simultaneously in 1996. I suspect that’s to do with extensive media coverage of the Heaven’s Gate cult, which famously committed mass suicide at the time of Hale-Bop’s passing. Perhaps this association is also what drew me toward Hyakutake as the inspiration for this piece instead of Hale-Bop. That…and the name. “Hyakutake” just sounds so much cooler than “Hale-Bop,” doesn’t it?
In any event, Swathe was one of the first pieces I conceptualized for series 1 of Macrostellar, but was one of the last pieces I tackled. By the time I came around to working on it, I had more than my fill of the deep, bright colors which had permeated the other pieces in the series. What was to come would be a dramatic departure from what I had originally planned. As it turned out, the story I wanted to tell with the piece was actually better delivered as a result.
A swathe through white space is about movement, kineticism. It speaks of the endless possibilities paired with freedom, and the infinite and inevitable losses of the roads not traveled. A comet seemed the perfect metaphor for this sentiment: they are the galactic interlopers, careening past various celestial bodies before merrily speeding along on their merry way. Not that much unlike people, really; we show up, we pass through, we leave a mark in our wake. Going a step further, I chose to personalize this because that is exactly what my experience of people has been: they show up, they pass through, they leave a mark in their wake.
And then they are gone, streaking away toward their next destination, whatever and wherever that may be.
I’m not being depressive. In fact, if I had to insert myself into this analogy, I would probably place myself as the comet. Present, but not necessarily connected. Observed, but not necessarily understood. Unaccompanied, but not necessarily alone. In the world, but not of it.
Swathe is a lesson in detachment, intended as a reminder that solitude equates neither stagnation nor sorrow.
Forward is always a place you can go. The all-encompassing emptiness which we sometimes feel around us is not a darkness, but a blank canvas on which we can paint with whichever palette of our choosing. And in that white space, all directions are equally visible, anywhere and anything is possible.
A swathe through white space is part of the Macrostellar collection by Kevin Halfhill. Macrostellar is a series of art which interprets various stellar bodies and phenomenon through the abstract.