Johannes Kepler, a disciple of the great Danish astronomer, Tycho Brahe, built upon the data his mentor had collected to pen his Astronomia Nova, and that work included what are now known as Kepler's first two laws of planetary motion.

It was one of the first real demonstrations of what we now refer to as "the scientific method," and it led to Kepler's Epitome Astronomiae in 1621. His most influential work, it postulated heliocentric astronomy in a precise and systematic way and outlined perpetual tables for calculating planetary positions for any given date in the past or future.

Building on those cosmological ideas, artists Michael Burk and Ann-Katrin Krenz have employed 3D printing and old-school projection technology to create a hybrid device which is both a beautiful object and an evocation of the new world.

They call their device "Kepler's Dream," and say it's "an aesthetical investigation, exploring analog projection technology in the combination with computationally created content that is given a physical shape through 3D printing."

Burke says the installation was inspired by essentially obsolete devices such as the overhead projector and the episcope to generate unique imagery.

"Mixing digital aesthetics – parametric and generative shapes – with the qualities of analog projection creates an otherworldly look that seems to be neither digital nor analog," Burk says of the project.
"Interacting with the installation creates a deeply immersive effect, as the instant reaction of the projection and the 'infinite frame rate' let this fantastical world come to life."

He adds that the design process took advantage of the inherently shallow depth of field of the projector and lenses the pair used, and that a spherical object was selected as the centerpiece "to allow for a seamless exploration with the freedom to move in all directions."

Burk says the first prototypes brought to mind Kepler's model of the solar system from Mysterium Cosmographicum, and that it's also reminiscent of the mysticism Kepler was renowned for in relation to his scientific rigor.

The project was a student work in the Digitale Klasse at Berlin University of the Arts under the direction of Professors Joachim Sauter, Jussi Ängeslevä and Stefan Schwabe.

The 3D model which serves as the subject matter for the projections was made with Maxon's CINEMA 4D and printed by Shapeways after being modeled in XPresso and MoGraph.

You can check out Krenz' photos of the installation here.