Tidal Disruption

An Unforgettable Encounter with a Black Hole


Mark-David Hosale and Jim Madsen with Faisal Abdu'Allah (2022)

Tidal Disruption: An Unforgettable Encounter With A Black Hole is an architectonic light sculpture representative of the form and behavior of a tidal disruption event. When a star wanders too close to a supermassive black hole the tidal forces of the black hole become so strong that not even a star can survive. What once was a beautiful ball of fusing matter is torn apart by the phenomenal gravitational strength of the unimaginable dense black hole.

Viewers experience the cosmic fireworks produced by the encounter as they walk down a sound and light pathway that spirals into the black hole. The death of a star spiraling into a black hole is depicted in a 4-minute sequence. Over the course of this sequence the story of a tidal disruption event unfolds: a star encounters a black hole, and the black hole devours the star until it disappears, in a drama of darkness and light. The overall experience expresses the sublime nature of black holes, exposing the mysterious beauty and power of cataclysmic cosmic events in a thought-provoking installation where art and science collide.