RFO Speaker Series: The Thinness of the Air with Ned Kahn

  • March 16, 2023 7:00 PM - 8:00 PM
  • Pacific Standard Time

Ticket Price Free This event is now over

Join RFO and artist and sculptor, Ned Kahn, for an informative conversation on "The Thinness of the Air"


In the last few decades, Sebastopol-based sculptor, Ned Kahn, has created numerous artworks that make air currents visible. Often covering the facades of large buildings, these artworks function almost like scientific instruments, revealing the intricate structure of the wind. His intent is to increase people’s sense of wonder and appreciation for the beauty, complexity and fragility of the Earth’s atmosphere. Kahn recently teamed up with a satellite launch company called Momentus to realize a planet scale visualization of the thinness of the Earth’s atmosphere. Ned Kahn will discuss this project and show videos of some of his other artworks related to atmospheric visualization.


California artist Ned Kahn combines science, art, and technology in ways that allow viewers to witness—and participate in—the interplay of natural elements such as water, wind, sand, and fire. Through modeling and marshaling these forces of nature, he re-creates vast environmental phenomenon on a human scale. Through his work we can observe the behavior of exquisitely complex systems—such as tornados, avalanches, whirlpools, and wind storms—and better appreciate their beauty and intricacy. But Kahn artworks also reach beyond the terrestrial. They give us a window onto universal forces, allowing us to better understand patterns that appear throughout the cosmos—from the bands of storms swirling across Jupiter to the forces that shape spiral galaxies.    


Ned Kahn received a degree in botany and environmental studies (1982) from the University of Connecticut. Soon after, as Artist-in-Residence, Kahn designed exhibits for the San Francisco’s beloved Exploratorium until 1996. While there, he became a protégé of the museum’s founder, Dr. Frank Oppenheimer, who Kahn counts as one of his greatest inspirations. After leaving the Exploratorium. Kahn moved to Graton, CA, and founded Ned Kahn Studios in Sebastopol, California. His works often integrate the forces of water and wind, using urban buildings, piers, playgrounds, airports, and even parking garages as canvases. His work appears in public spaces across the United States and around the world, with permanent installations in Australia, Singapore, England, Switzerland, and the Netherlands. In 2003 Kahn was awarded a MacArthur “genius” fellowship. 


Date & Time

Thu, Mar 16, 2023 7:00 PM - 8:00 PM

Robert Ferguson Observatory

The Valley of the Moon Observatory Association (VMOA) is volunteer amateur and professional astronomers plus a small supporting staff organized as a nonprofit association to provide educational programs about science and astronomy for students, the public, and in support of educators.

The VMOA is responsible for the construction, maintenance and utilization of the Robert Ferguson Observatory and functions as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization under the auspices of the California State Parks System, and in cooperation with our local state parks.