student work

Jack Madden

Abyss without vertigo

The atom of subjective value is the individual. Each individual is an engine for the entire process of internalizing reality, generating morality, and enacting change. A self-awareness of this power is itself a powerful force to reorganize the psyche. As a method of achieving this self-awareness, solitude can focus our attention on how narrow and disconnected the funnel of our body is in relation to our environment, the world, or the universe. Solitude can also bring us to the realization that the narrowness of our experiences are significantly finite as opposed to insignificant. 

Finding solitude is difficult both physically and mentally. Humans are constantly seeking connection which leaves little chance for a person to be caught incapable of distracting themselves with work, communication, social media, entertainment, religion, education, or nature. To be made of distractions is the greatest tragedy for it denies yourself and others your true self and prevents us from experiencing the unique actions and ideas only you are capable of sharing.

A self-awareness of this power is necessary for those who wish to enact a lasting change, a type of alteration that may register perceptibly by the future. With evolution as our core operating principle, the legacy we leave should be designed to create examples for individuals to follow, question, and learn from. The value of an example is not in the progress it seemingly contributes but by the usefulness of its artifact to teach a future generation. To do this authentically you must feel yourself as a distinct entity, trust yourself as a creator of change, and become the scientist of your own reality. To be stuck feeling incapable of distracting yourself so completely that you stop thinking about your own insignificance your only hope then is to imagine that you are not insignificant and that you may contribute to a change that rises above the noise on a cosmic scale.


student work

Untitled space no.2 

light, darkness




A black and white image of a colorless person sitting on a black curve.

see Equation 29.131

Carroll B. & Ostlie D. An Introduction to Modern Astrophysics. 2nd ed. Pearson 2007



This curve shows the past and future expansion of the whole universe. Factoring in the play between matter and dark energy, we can model the overall expansion of space to first order using a relatively simple function. The ease of deriving, plotting, confirming, and predicting billions of years of history can disconnect us just as much as it connects us to reality. 


A dense band of stars between two light beams.

Deep Field no.15

Abell 1656, Hubble/NASA/ESA

4800x3600 PNG


A pixel sort of the Coma Cluster rapidly forming stars to light up the darkness for the next 100 trillion years. 


A webbed network of black lines.

Knowledge no.2 

Mathematica, Oxford English Dictionary

1410x1500 GIF


Animation from series no. 2 from Complete Definitions using the seed word “Knowledge”. Network connections are constructed and deconstructed in order of word appearance and contains all words in the definitions arising from an initial seed word. Approximately 20,000 edges drawn per second.


A black figure painting on a rice grain.

The Individual no.7

Oil on rice



‘The Individual’ is a series of figure paintings on rice to force a confrontation between human and cosmic scales. Painted freehand under a microscope, these paintings are at the small scale limit of what I can create. No.7 went to the International Space Station in 2022.