The Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) is a next-generation observatory currently under development that has created a watershed moment for the scientific community and Hawaiian society. This is because of its planned location on Mauna Kea… the most sacred mountain in the Hawaiian religion. But the case of TMT and Mauna Kea is not an outlier because mountain summits often have profound meanings to both indigenous cultural practitioners and technology developers. For example, Kanamota is another sacred mountain that is the site of technological development. It's also known as Mount Saint Helena. Ian Garrett is the co-founder and director of the Center for Sustainable Practice in the Arts (CSPA) and an Associate Professor of Ecological Design for Performance at York University. He's collaborating with indigenous communities to understand and express how contested spaces are experienced through virtual reality. In this second installment of Starstruck, we talk with him about his ongoing collaborations with indigenous communities and explore the use of diminished reality to make the observatories on Mauna Kea disappear.
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Check out our Prelude episode on the background of the Thirty Meter Telescope, Will We Find God with this Machine?