In The Writing of Stones, Roger Caillois suggests that to split a stone and make its heart visible is to access a primitive image of the cosmos and reveal a parallel universe*.
In order to perceive cosmic dimensions that are invisible to the naked eye, we dig up the earth to extract a dust that is essential for digital photography: silicon. This semiconductor, used massively to manufacture instruments for observatories and space telescopes, is thought to come directly from stellar explosions, the supernovae**.
A cycle is therefore formed between the particles we collect on Earth and the stars we want to see: we have to dig up the soil to find grains of stars that allow us to image suns.
The transformation of the universe itself into a mining resource is bringing about a change in the state of cosmic stones. They are gradually losing their aura as quasi-imaginary objects and becoming industrial commodities in the same way as earthly stones.
Nadir, Picture Elements Explorer, is an instrument, a quasi-camera, a kind of space probe. A composite rock is exploited to form images. The machine then tries to reveal the paradoxes that structure astronomical imagery; between the celestial surrealities and the mineral materialities of the representations of space; between inevitable excessive extraction and a poetry of the elements that traces a path linking the earth's core and the cosmic microwave background.
* Roger Caillois, The Writing of Stones (1970). French edition reprinted in La Lecture des pierres, Paris: Éditions Xavier Barral, 2014, p.315.
** NASA, Exploding Stars Make Key Ingredient in Sand, Glass, 16 November 2018 - https://www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/exploding-stars-make-key-ingredient-in-sand-glass