Art and science collide in  exhibit hosted at observatory

In the futuristic year of 2017, hostilities spill beyond Earth when conflict arises between the Indian and Chinese moon colonies. Result: two destroyed colonies, 500 dead.

That’s only the beginning.

Amy Brouillette is a program aide at Highland Road Park Observatory, and she envisions a future where humans discover complex life on a distant planet by traveling through another dimension. The 23-year-old Baton Rouge resident has been displaying her multi-media exhibit at the observatory on Saturday evenings, and will continue to do so Saturday and Feb. 9.

“We jumped at the chance to show it,” said Christopher Kersey, observatory manager. He said the display, known as Project Mayflower, is the observatory’s first art display.

Brouillette’s spectacle is multi-faceted and thorough. It involves an etched Mylar timeline, a website, hand-drawn maps, drawings of creatures found on the planet, detailed crew profiles, the crew historian’s journal and a model of Meriwether Lewis, the spacecraft used to travel to the newly discovered planet.

The idea sparked in Brouillette when she was a high school freshman. She first imagined the world that the crew would eventually encounter, known as Estel Ac.

“I had a tumor in my leg and was stuck at home with nothing but the Internet. I started developing the characters and I’ve been working on it ever since.”

She started thinking about what would happen if space travel became commonplace and how fast things would build and develop.

“Most of the technologies we take for granted were pioneered by the space program. We went to the moon with less computer power than a cheap solar calculator.”

In Brouillette’s story, a probe called Columbus discovers Estel Ac after punching a hole in another dimension. All the humans in the galaxy, despite previously contentious relations, come together to work toward a manned mission to Estel Ac set for the year 2258, the final event of Brouillette’s timeline.

Brouillette first became interested in space when her father took her to the Highland Observatory as a child.

“I just fell in love with it. I wanted to be an astronaut for a while, until Columbia made me reconsider that,” she said. “It also helped that I wasn’t too good at math.”

Her art skills eventually led Brouillette to pursue a bachelor’s of fine art in digital art at LSU. She worked on aspects of Project Mayflower throughout her classes, and created the space mission as a framework for her fantasy world last spring in her Artist as Archivist class.

“It was such a big hit that my teacher suggested I continue it for my senior project, which I was more than happy to do,” Brouillette said. She has since added a few more details and wants to continue building on Project Mayflower.

Concerning her future, Brouillette will continue working at the observatory. One day, she said, she would like to turn her fantasy world into something more tangible.

“I plan for it to be a set of five books eventually, but I still have to iron out the details,” Brouillette said. She also aspires to teach art at St. Joseph’s Academy, her alma mater.

But for the next two Saturdays, Brouillette is a visionary artist. Her attention to detail is evident while she meticulously packs up the display, her entire universe fitting neatly into a duffle bag.