Marte Newcombe: Landfill

  • ©2007, Marte Newcombe





Creation Year:



    Digital print on archival watercolor paper


    41 inches x 10 inches x 1 inch


Artist Statement:

    These works were produced by a collaboration between NASA scientific visualizer Greg Shirah and artist Marte Newcombe. Shirah works closely with scientists and their data to create visuals explaining scientific results for educational purposes. Often in the process of creating and testing visualizations, he encounters interesting imagery that he feels would be useful in their nine-year-long collaboration, so he saves the test images and sends them to Newcombe in Australia, and she adds them to their collaborative projects. In this way, the visualizer and the artist collaborate around the globe using scientific data of phenomena (hurricanes, cyclones, typhoons) that occur in many parts of the world. Visualizations of these types of data are helping to educate the world about how complex planetary systems function. In the artwork, Newcombe adds her own metal sculptures, which act as the protagonist in the narrative, while the scientific data are used as both the environment and texture. The curves were generated from a scientist’s volumetric hurricane simulation, based on data from actual hurricane research. Some of the curves were generated mathematically using parametric equations. Wind-flow field data were used to create the curves. Usually starting positions for each curve are determined based on a scientist’s desire to investigate a particular effect (such as how air moves from the surface up into the hurricane). For the curves, the starting positions were constrained to unusual, discreet regions of the hurricane, creating an effect of starting in a tight formation then propagating out and around the storm. These starting regions were chosen to test the flow-field system and achieve an artistic result.