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Luminary II (Betelgeuse), 2024

Te Tara-o-te-Ika-a-Māui Coromandel quartz, Betelgeuse, sound (source NASA), atmoshpere, extended reality [30m x 30m x 50m]

Luminary II XR emerges as a manifestation of artist Karen Sewell’s enduring fascination with the celestial and the terrestrial, and the interplay between the two realms. As the creator behind this immersive installation, Sewell aims to challenge traditional notions of artistic expression and invites viewers on a transcendent journey into the cosmic expanse. Conceived and created for the ABSTRAXT ABSTRAXT exhibition, Luminary II XR represents the culmination of years of exploration and experimentation. 

Positioned strategically over Te Onewa on the northern shores of the Waitemata, its symbolic alignment with the winter position of the Orion constellation serves as a visual cue to the ancient narratives that have shaped human understanding of the universe. Its genesis can be traced back to the aesthetics of a hand made ‘mud dumpling’ created by Sewell and the ethereal essence of Te Tara-o-te-Ika-a-Māui Coromandel quartz, a material renowned for its luminous quality and metaphysical properties. Enriched further by a soundscape sourced from NASA and curated by Sewell, Luminary II transcends conventional sensory experiences, inviting viewers to embark on a journey through the cosmos.

Luminary II XR  embodies the dynamic synergy between artistic creativity and technological advancement, highlighting the transformative potential of merging these two realms. 

The visual impact of Luminary II XR  is enhanced by a celestial soundscape — real sound from around the planets and moons of our galaxy. Sound is carefully crafted by the art of soundscaping to create an auditory landscape that resonates harmoniously with the installation's visual narrative, providing viewers with a multi-sensory encounter that blurs the lines between the physical and the metaphysical.

Inspired by the fiery brilliance of Betelgeuse, the red supergiant star within the Orion constellation, Luminary II XR serves as a celestial bridge between the terrestrial and the divine. Its spherical form, evocative of eternity and unity, embodies the cyclical rhythms of the cosmos and invites viewers to contemplate the interconnectedness of all existence. As viewers engage with Luminary II XR, they are invited to look beyond the surface and into the realm of feeling, allowing themselves to experience the profound sense of wonder and awe that lies within the depths of the human spirit.

As an artist, Sewell’s intention with Luminary II XR is not only to create a visually captivating experience but also to provoke thought and dialogue. In an age marked by technological advancement and environmental uncertainty, it is imperative that we cultivate a deeper connection with the natural world and the cosmic forces that shape our existence. Through its huge and close otherworldly presence and profound symbolism, Luminary II XR challenges viewers to reconsider their relationship with the universe and their role as stewards of the Earth.

In conclusion, Luminary II XR represents a convergence of artistic vision, technological innovation, and spiritual inquiry. As viewers engage with the installation, Sewell hopes to inspire a sense of awe and reverence for the interconnectedness of all life forms and the eternal beauty of the universe. Sewell invites the viewer and participant of this work together with her to embark on a journey of self-discovery and enlightenment, forging a deeper connection with the cosmos and the natural world that surrounds us.


Featured during the Splore Festival in February 2024, Luminary XR (the Georgian Star), is a vast celestial agate sphere accessible via handheld devices and extended reality technology. Drawing inspiration from small spherical 'mud dumpling' sculptures and ancient origins, Luminary XR serves as a nexus, connecting the realms of the terrestrial and the celestial. This geo-located ephemeral sculpture, complete with curated sound accompaniment (source NASA), hovered over the oceanfront at Ashby beach, positioned with a panoramic view of the Firth of Thames.


Luminary XR (The Georgian Star), 2024

Rakia Gorge Agate (Canterbury), Uranus, sound (source NASA), atmoshpere, extended reality [30m x 30m x 50m]

The aesthetic design of Luminary originates from the celestial body Uranus and it's crystalline twin ancient chalcedony stone formations found in the Rakia Gorge in Aotearoa New Zealand. The Chalcedony is a banded type of agate, a quartz variant comprised of microscopic crystals, formed over approximately fifty million years. Drawing inspiration from Uranus, named after the ancient Greek deity of the Heavens, Luminary XR embodies a cosmic essence.

Interestingly, scientists have discovered gemstones within meteorites on Earth, believed to originate from planetary bodies as ancient as the dawn of the universe. The spherical shape of Luminary carries profound symbolism, representing eternity, timelessness, unity, and the cycles of life, among other concepts, making it a potent emblem of the divine and the self.

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