Expanding the Space
Octubre Centre de Cultura Contemporania, Valencia, Spain, 3-6 October 2006
The Conference Expanding the Space has been organized by the Octubre Centre de Cultura Contemporania, in collaboration with Leonardo/Olats, and the co-sponsoring of the International Academy of Astronautics, to coincide with the 57th International Astronautical Congress that took place in Valencia, Spain in October 2006.
This conference aimed at giving the opportunity to bring together the artistic and the scientific communities from both a local and international level.
The following topics were adressed:
1. Humankind in front of the mirror. A perspective of our own planet thanks to space missions. Cultural impact.
2. Climatic change. Its effects seen from outside.
3. Microgravity: the sensory experience of weightlessness.
4. Colonialism vs. exploration. Are space missions a new kind of colonialism?
5. The control of terrestrial biologics in the preparation of space missions.
Josep Perelló, physicist. University of Barcelona
Emili Payà, OCCC
Annick Bureaud, art critic. Director, Association Leonardo/Olats
Roger Malina, International Academy of Astronautics, Leonardo
Fernando J. Ballesteros, University of Valencia, Astronomical Observatory
Martí Domínguez, editor of Mètode magazine
Julien Knebusch, Leonardo/Olats
Seth Shostak, astrobiologist, SETI Institute
Bernard Foing, scientist-in-chief of the European Space Agency
Salomé Cuesta, Laboratorio de la Luz, Fine Arts Department (Polytechnic University of Valencia).
Jean-Luc Soret, Curator of the @rt Outsiders International Festival and Director of the art agency SpaceArt One (Paris)
Laura Borràs, Department of Humanities and Philology of the Universitat
Oberta de Catalunya
Participants :Fernando Ballesteros I Marco Bernasconi I Martha Blassnigg, Nina Czegledy, Michael Punt I Philippe Boissonet I Annick Bureaud I Karl Doetsch I Bernard Foing I Setsuko Ishiguro I Julien Knebusch I Ramon Lapiedra I Roger Malina I Zbigniew Oksiuta I Emili Paya I Joseph Perello I Marius Ramirez-Cardona I Janine Randerson I Sundar Sarukkai I Seth Shostak I Jill Scott I Seth Kartik Vora, Amber Mehta
Fernando Ballesteros- The Year that the Earth had Two Moons
Marco Bernasconi - Astronautics as an Etical Imperative
Fifty years of state-controlled space exploration seem to have actually restricted the operational arena for human activities. Worse, they have led to a generation of space community people who –in their vaste majority –do believe that space efforts by their nature involve enormous costs,large risks, and only intangible returns. Accordingly, they hold that space needs more state control, that only the best scientific research deserves access to space –and that extraterrestrial space holds economic relevance only for a few communications services. Yet, the multiple tragedies of the 20th century suggest that a set of deeper considerations may serve us all well. The permanent failure to address the development of space also points to the need for new, more comprehensive strategic approaches –and the frequent asking of such post-modernist questions seems to show the intent of not exploring them. It has been argued that the movement into extraterrestrial space simply continues the tendency of all life forms to expand into new environments –an analogy that has much to sustain it, unless one fall into the error of inventing an anthropomorphic Life. A greater urgency derives from the fact that Earth-centered strategies for coping with this century’s global issues will lead to the negation of freedom, and will disenfranchise billions of people. We suggest injecting a quantum of sanity in this discussion, beginning by presenting a summary of a comprehensive rationale for Astronautics, and moving to a discussion of a rationale framework for ethics and the formation of rules, with suggestions about the way anchored these may be anchored in universal values. It then addresses the discussion and the creation of the future, looking at the special case of the present century. It compares the potential good that may be expected from Astronautics with some of the major issues before the human species and attempt to give guidelines for uniting space activities and the ethical striving characteristic of the terrestrial sophonts.
Biography : Dr Marco C Bernasconi is a mechanical engineer with more that twenty-five years of experience in the space industry. He has been freelancing as an expert on flexible-wall expandable structures (aka as inflatable or gossamer elements) and on astronautical systems since January 2003.
During the previous 24 years he was at Contraves Space (in their different corporate forms), as a Principal Engineer for mechanical systems studies from 1989 onwards. At Contraves he originated the effort on chemically-rigidized, inflatable space structures (ISRS) that in the 1980s brought to their Space Division international recognition in the field of large space structures. He also consulted for the Orbiting Unification Ring Satellite (OURS) Project (1986-89) and for other space art projects.
A full Member of the International Academy of Astronautics (IAA), between 1994-1999, he organized and chaired the session 1 for the Academy’s Symposia on Space Activities & Society. His interest for the ethical argument is a life-long one, just as is the one for Astronautics.
Arthur R.Woods Marco C.Bernasconi (1992).Space and Humanity -Paper presented at the 1992 European Space Congress/ISY Space Show, Munich,Germany.March 31.
Marco C Bernasconi (1995). Ethical Considerations in the Astronautical Endeavour –Introductory Remarks. Paper IAA-95-IAA.8.1.01 presented at the 46th International Astronautical Congress, Oslo (Norway),October 2-6.
Marco C.Bernasconi Cristina Bernasconi (1997). Why Implementing the Space Option Is Necessary for Society. Paper IAA-97-IAA.8.1.02 presented at the 48th International Astronautical Congress ,Turin (Italy),October 6-10;also:
Acta Astronautica 54 [05 ] (2004),371-384.
Marco C Bernasconi (2002). Is Technology the Limiting Factor for Implementing the Space Option? Invited presentation at the ASI 1 st International Workshop on Futuristic Space Technologies,Trieste (Italy), 5-7 May.
Marco C Bernasconi (2005). Astronautics an Ethics for the 21st Century. Presentation at the 9th Space the Arts Workshop “Space: Planetary Consciousness and the Arts”,”Yverdon-les-Bains (Switzerland),May 19-21.
Martha Blassnigg, Nina Czegledy, Michael Punt - Thick Space – Surface/Interface, Perception and Cosmologies
The contention of this joint paper is that maps (including star maps) are cognitive surfaces where both knowledge and experiences become inscribed. Scientific instruments and methodologies of celestial mapping have combined to shape as they also fossilise our knowledge of the cosmos at any given moment. As such they provide evidence of more mythological or metaphysical enquiries. This suggests that the mapping of deep space may be regarded as an imaginative expression of cultural perceptions of the self as at the same time it is a data driven scientific statement about the cosmos.
From an introspective point of view, Blassnigg will show how maps can be seen as inscribed surfaces entangling the scientific and the imaginary aspirations of the moment: As such they can be read as complex archaeological traces of perception. By taking an anthropological approach to the concept of mapping knowledge she will revisit the discussion of representations of the \’other\’ in cultural anthropology and propose a correlation between the perception of the self and the mapping of Space.
Following this Czegledy will offer a comparison between historical and contemporary perception of space including celestial mapping drawing on historical references from the 16th century contrasting these with contemporary cartography such as the use of cosmic X-rays and the Hipparcos satellite (ESA). Celestial maps, also carry a symbolic social and political significance beyond the craft of cartography. For example the Astronomers Bazaar provides access to thousands of online astronomical catalogues, including ALADIN, accessible on a home computer and renders a democratic worldwide (web) cosmos.
Finally Punt will draw attention to contemporary technologies of representation and scientific imaging. He will use examples from the cinema in which science and technology are intimately entwined with entertainment to show that however absolute our knowledge may appear at a given moment, in its representation it will always be provisional since it is subject to a thick cultural and historical context.
By opening up an understanding of the mapping of space as a rhetoric of history, culture and representation we draw attention to the contemporary understanding of the cosmos as no more than a moment in the flight of history. In so doing we argue that the arts and the sciences as products of the historical moment are jointly responsible for the state of contemporary knowledge.
Nina Czegledy, artist, curator and writer, has collaborated on international projects and participated in forums, festivals worldwide. The Aurora Project, Resonance, Electromagnetic Bodies and Digitized Bodies touring projects reflect her art&science&technology involvement.Aurora was shown recently in Latvia, New Zealand and Finland.Member of ICOLS and the Girls and Guns Collective, Czegledy produced numerous art programs presented worldwide. Her academic lectures and conference presentations led to publications in books and journals. President of Critical Media, member of the Leonardo SpaceArt Network and advisor to UNESCO’a DigiArts Portal, Czegledy is a Senior Fellow at KMDI, University of Toronto, Adjunct Associate Professor at Concordia University, Montreal and current chair of the Inter Society for the Electronic Arts (ISEA).
Martha Blassnigg is a Cultural Anthropologist and Film and Media Theorist working as Visiting Researcher with Trans-technology Research at the University of Plymouth. She has previously worked as film restorer at the Filmmuseum in Amsterdam and subsequently in the Computer Software sector. Drawing on her research her first documentary film “Shapes of Ligh” (2000) presents four Austrian artists who express their belief in angels and mediate their own clairvoyant sensitivity in their artwork. In her latest film, “Lotte Hahn – A Life for Art”, 2004, a portrait of Lotte Hahn’s artistic and personal life, she treats the subject of memory in its relation to time and space. The interrelations of metaphysical themes with aspects of technology, in particular the cinema, are brought together in her current research. Some of the recent outcomes have been published in Leonardo, Convergence, Technoetic Arts and in the anthology “Screen Consciousness; Cinema, Mind and World” edited by R.Pepperell and M.Punt (Rodopi, Amsterdam.) Full cv and details of research can be found at http://www.trans-techresearch.net A full list of publications and CV can be found below.
Michael Punt is Professor Art and Technology and director of Transtechnology Research at the University of Plymouth and is also Editor-in-Chief of Leonardo Reviews. He has made 15 films and published over eighty articles on cinema and digital media in the last decade. He gained his PhD at the University of Amsterdam (Early Cinema and the Technological Imaginary, 2000) and has published articles on cinema history and digital technology for The Velvet Light Trap, Leonardo, Design Issues, Technoetic Arts and Convergence. His most recent book: Screening Consciousness: Cinema Mind World Rodopi, 2006 edited with Robert Pepperell follows their earlier collaboration: The Post-Digital Membrane: imagination technology and desire, Intellect Books , 2006. Full cv and details of research can be found at http://www.trans-techresearch.net
Philippe Boissonet - From Mother Earth to Child Earth perception of our Planet
As an introduction: how this move in this representation of Earth has influenced my artistic creation in the last decade ? First of all, I will introduce images of 2 majors artworks that I created in holography/light installation (“The Awareness of Limita: Gaia and Galileo”, 1993). I will discuss how it lead me to shape a poetic awareness about our urgent need to construct a new collective counciousness of the Earth and its evolution. A counciousness which would have to go through tereestrial representation of a fragile, delicate and unstable Globe. Something to be protected as an entity being part of us, as for a child being inside a mother belly, and no more as being the Mother of everthing (the archaic Gaia). Protected or controlled ? Strangly, all this new perception is bringing a new change: a change of attitude in the philosophical point of view that we are used to develop in our relationship to the terrestrial Globe. A point of view from inside. Not a geo!
Physical inside, but an inner understanding of the Earth connected to our own body and mind. Knowing the Planet through the eyes of satellites and sensors (so, from outside), attracts the Earth within an individual counciousness of a “We”. Thus, I am now working on the metaphorical idea of “Peaux-Mondes” in large scale digital photography and other media.
Biography : Philippe Boissonnet was born in France in 1957. He works and live in Quebec, Canada, since 1985. He is currently a full-time professor in Visual Arts at the University of Quebec in Trois-Rivières. In 1983, he won the Elizabeth Greenshields Foundation prize for drawing and, in 1998, he has been also recipient of the Shearwater Foundation for the Holographic Arts Prize. His artistic field of interest gradually developed to include the new technologies (holography, copigraphy, digital photography, video) in two-dimensional and installations works. Since 1983 he has been involved in a number of group and individual exhibitions, both on the national and international level (Europe, USA, Canada, Brasil, Australia, Japan).
Annick Bureaud - Art and Weightlessness: The Building up of a Culture
Karl Doetsch - When will Humans Migrate into Space?
Major human migrations have been triggered on Earth over the past million years or so whenever environmental changes, pressure for new resources, particularly food and water, or significant evolution in societies and culture, coupled with the quest for new opportunities and adventure, reached a tipping point. A new frontier for such a migration will be crossed when humans leave Earth for life in Space. What are the conditions that will trigger such a migration and how will human ingenuity be harnessed to make a successful move into the most inhospitable environment that humans have faced so far? The presentation will address the motives for, the implementation of, and the opportunities, rewards and changes in human culture resulting from such a migration, as well as some of the necessary conditions to be fulfilled before such a move can occur on any significant scale.
Biography : Karl Doetsch is currently Chairman of Athena Global. In well over 30 years of aerospace experience, Karl Doetsch has occupied many senior positions in his field. He worked in leadership roles on Canada’s principal human space flight initiatives: the development of the Canadarm for the Space Shuttle, the establishment of Canada’s Astronaut Program and the Canadian Space Station Program. He has served as Vice-President of Human Spaceflight, Vice-President Programs, and Acting President of the Canadian Space Agency, as well as Chairman of Canada’s National Space Plan Task Force, before becoming President of the International Space University. He has served as Chairman of the Scientific and Technical Subcommittee of the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (UNCOPUOS), President of the International Astronautical Federation (IAF) and President of the Canadian Aeronautics and Space Institute (CASI). Karl Doetsch, who holds a Ph.D. in aerodynamics from Imperial College, London, has been the recipient of many awards during his career.
Bernard Foing - Exploring the Moon and Beyond: Why and When ?
Biography : He is the father and science director of the first European mission to the Moon SMART-1 (http://sci.esa.int/smart-1/). Curriculum: Ecole Normale Supérieure of Education & Technology, Professor Agrégé of Physical sciences, Habilitation to direct research, France. PhD using a sounding rocket ultraviolet camera experiment at CNRS and research stays in the US. 3 years in Chile as astronomer for French embassy and ESO European Southern Observatory. Permanent researcher at CNRS Institut d’Astrophysique Spatiale (from 1986). Since 1989, at ESA Space Science Department/ESTEC, as study scientist (SIMURIS, MORO, EuroMoon), Research Unit Coordinator, SMART-Project scientist, Head of Research Division, Chief scientist and Senior Research Coordinator. He has served as Professor of Astrophysics and Space Science in various universities in US and Europe. He has been president of ILEWG (Int’l Lunar Exploration Working Group) and now serves as Executive Director (htttp:/sci.esa.int/ilewg/). He has been Co-I of space projects TRC, SOHO, XMM, BIOPAN, SMART-1, Mars Express, COROT, ISS/Expose, Chandrayaan-1. He is member of the Int’l Academy of Astronautics. He published 50 articles in lunar/planetary, solar/stellar physics and astrobiology. He edited 15 books and organized over 40 international conferences. As a viola or guitar player, he has played with various orchestras and music groups.
Setsuko Ishiguro - Flying Deities Project
As activities in space become more common, it is increasingly important to examine human behavior in zero gravity from the viewpoint of arts and culture. This study examines the performance of certain dances in a zero gravity environment, and makes a comparison between such performances and what ancient people imagined it to be like dancing in this kind of environment. Among the many cultures that have imagined flying celestial beings, this study focuses on the murals of flying deities [hiten] in Dunhuang (China) and Asuka (Japan).
We need to clarify what we mean by “flying deities” In the Buddhist tradition the flying deities are regarded as celestial beings who fly through the air to praise Buddha’s dignity and guard his world, showering flowers and wafting incense as they fly through the air. At Project 1.two parabolic flights were made to test the performance of flying deities in zero gravity. For this purpose the test subjects, who were skilled dancers, boarded an airplane to simulate elements of the performance in zero gravity.
One major aim of this test performance was to define the basic patterns for the dance and the task was to look down as the dancer lifted the upper body. Another aim consisted of defining the basic patterns for a duo dance, one resembling those of the mural paintings of Horyuji and another one similar to those of Dunhuang. This required coordinated movements between the two dancers.
One of the most prominent characteristics of the postures of flying deities is looking down while lifting upper bodies. Moreover, it has become evident that the postures of the Dunhuang dance, which are composed of various curves depict the shape of letter the U and not the straight vertical line emphasized in classical ballet.
In zero gravity, one normally moves forward as if exposed to danger. Trained dancers, however, can float in this environment bending their upper body backward like the flying deities were painted in ancient times. Thus, it became clear that a posture of bending backward is one of the artistic rules in zero gravity.
The above described attempts at re-enacting a dance of the flying deities in zero gravity shows that, despite some of the mentioned difficulties, this offers a possibility of realizing ancient peopleâs adoration of the celestial world, and also provides important clues in studying effective movements in zero gravity.
Biography : Choreographer, Japan
Julien Knebusch - Outline of a phenomenology of climate
Biography : Almenara (València), 1940. Doctor in Theorical Physics by Université de Paris (1969) and, later, by the Universitat de Barcelona (1974). From 1966 to 1969 he was a research member of Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique in France, and from 1969 to 1978, he served as a professor at the Departament de Física Teòrica de la Universitat de Barcelona. Since 1982 he is a full professor at the Universitat de València, being chancellor from 1984 to 1994. He has published about thirty articles about relativistic physics for several nationwide scientific magazines. He is a member of the Institut d’Estudis Catalans since 1986 and he is currency part of the Consell Valencià de Cultura.
Roger Malina - The Dark Side of the Universe; an Astronomer's View of Scientific Uncertainty
Biography: President of Association Leonardo/ISAST, which provides a channel of communication for artists who use science and developing technologies in their work. Roger F. Malina is an astronomer and space scientist. He is former Director of the NASA EUVE Observatory at the University of California, Berkeley, California, and former Director of the Laboratoire d’Astronomie Spatiale CNRS, Marseille, France. He is currently involved in the SNAP project, the development of a space observatory to understand dark energy and dark matter in the universe. He is a member of the International Academy of Astronautics and Chair of their Commission on Space Activities and Society.
Zbigniew Oksiuta - Life – Made in Biosphere : Made in Space
Over 50 years ago we entered a new area of research with dramatically different dimensions. Human expansion has two cardinal directions.
The first one is directed inwards, into the micro cosmos of Life; the world of molecules, genes and chromosomes.
The second one is us leading into the macro cosmic space, into the ocean of planets and stars.
At this threshold, projects like “Spatium Gelatum”, “Breeding Spaces” examine principles of Life as possibilities to develop a new kind of biological future in the biosphere and in space.
The beginning of the cosmic exploration era is also the beginning of the expansion of Life into the universe. As of now, we are colonizing the universe by exporting systems created in the Earthâs gravity: Euclidean geometry and Newtonâs laws of motion.
Though the laws of gravity determine the physics and the matter of all living organisms and is imminently incorporated into its DNA, Life, especially in its embryonic state, frees itself from the influence of that gravity. Taking advantage of the neutral buoyancy, these organisms are practically a water solution contained by a body of skin that develop in a weightless environment. They float in a liquid space practically between the two cosmic poles: Earthâs gravity and Cosmic weightlessness.
The complexity of the self creation processes, the precision of the transfer of information and cyclical economy of living systems have no comparison to any artificial systems.
These principles of living systems extend a great hope for creating a new biological civilization in which the transfer of energy, matter and information will be a biological progress in a steady state and the structures, the tools and the habitats will breed as living organisms.
At the same time the autonomy and self-creation of Life predestines it to become the sovereign ambassador of its own self in Cosmic space.
Chromosomes are “law-code and executive power – or to use another simile, they are the architect’s plan and builder’s craft-in one” (Erwin SchrÖdinger)
Not technology, not computers, or astronauts, but the microscopic strains of DNA sent into the universe, with the millions of years of evolutionary experience imbedded in them, will make the creation of new life in the Cosmos possible.
The project “Made in Biosphere” & “Made in Space” envisions the usage of DNA as a universal code of the Cosmos and foresees sending DNA strains embedded in biological reactors that would autonomously develop into new forms of Life in outer space.
These technologies are based on the following principles:
Creation of spatial forms in the state of weightlessness – Isopycnic Systems
Use of biological polymers as construction material – Spatium Gelatum
Generation of forms as a pneu – Biological Containment
Creation of containment in a different scale: of a cell, a pill, a fruit, a shelter, a universe.
Breeding Spaces as bioreactors for genetic development of new life in the biosphere and in space
Biography : He is a professor at the Fondamental Physics Department of the Universitat de Barcelona (UB). Doctor and degree in Physics, he especialized in econophysics (application of physics to economy). He is co-author of over twelve science articles and has served at Saclay (Paris) and City University (London), among others. He combines his activity as a researcher and professor with that related to writting, art and popularization of science. Perelló has coordinated and given conferences at the seminars “Science and art: scenes of an (im)possible love” (2003) and “Science and art: sparkling love” (2004). He has as well collaborated and assessorated several artists interested in science and has participated in poetry recitals, exhibitions and printing design. Has served as director of the meetings “New borders of science, art and thinking” at La Pedrera of Barcelona in 2005 and 2006 and has been awarded with the KRTU 2001 for young creativity by the Generalitat de Catalunya. Perelló has published the artist book “Versos sobre papiroflèxia matemàtica i boles peludes en mètrica d’espai-temps” (1999) (Verses about mathematic origami and hairy balls in space-time metric) and “Teoria de l’striptease aleatori” (2004) (Theory of fortuitous striptease). He has as well published several articles in defense of brotherhood between science and art for the catalan newspapers “El Periódico” (in which he writes about Dalí’s connexion with science) and “La Vanguardia”, and for the magazines “Mètode”, “Caos y Ciencia” and “Revista de Física” of the Institut d’Estudis Catalans.
Marius Ramirez-Cardona - Circular-shaped features on surface of planetary bodies. Recognition of impact cratering as a major process on the Earth's evolution
In the last two decades, post-Apollo’s missions have apported valuous and concise information about surface features of planets and satellites. The majority of recognizabled structures locallized on the surfaces are circular frameworks (including ovoids, coronae and arachnoids). So, the concept of a chaotic distribution of single and complex ring and circular-shaped structures is still now the more appropiate and conspicuous description of any planetary body surface. These rings are mostly the evidence of meteor impacting, that is accepted as the main process of space weathering on the surfaces of airless planetary bodies.
Gravity fluctuations and orbital radar data were used by NASA’s Clementine and Lunar Prospector (Moon) and Messenger (Mercury) satellites to give information on the target surface of the Moon. Remote sensing data evaluation was also proved as a good methodology to delimit hidden or subsurface structures.
Despite of the atmosphere effect burning up smaller meteors (e.g., Venus and Earth cases), presently, more than 160 impacts structures have been identified on Earth. Exploration techniques focused earlier on extraterrestrial planetary bodies have been applied latter to Earth’s surface. For example, JERS-1 or Landsat-7 satellite images and gravitation fluctuations measures (e.g., GRACE satellites) have been combined to inspect and detect circular structures associated to probable impacts.
This conference seeks to show the meteor cratering influence on the geological and biological evolution of our planet. In order to illustrate that idea, four impact craters have been chosen as paradigmatic cases taking into account archetypical feature, diameter size, changes on target material, biological evolution influence and prominent scientific trends:
-The Barringer meteorite crater (Arizona, USA) is a gigantic hole in the middle of the arid Arizona desert. It symbolizes the archetypical circular structure.
-The Chicxulub (Yucatan, Mexico) crater is associated to dinosaurs extinction 65 millions of years ago. This theory have been the subject of a controversy derived from the age estimation of the impact.
-The Kebira crater in western Egypt, at the Lybian border, is the largest crater in Sahara desert. (03/03/2006).
-The Wilkes Land evidences of impact crater lying hidden more than a mile beneath the East Antartic ice sheet. It is probably the cause of the Permian-Triassic (250 million years ago) mass extinction (06/06/2006).
Biography : Màrius Ramírez Cardona (Barcelona, 1975) is Doctor in Geology by the Univerity of Barcelona (2002). At present is working as a full professor at a State University in Mexico (UAEH) and collaborating with Meteoritics Seminar in UNAM. He began the research activity studying crystallography and thermodynamics of molecular and mineralogical systems. He is currently focusing on the study of stability of extraterrestrial phases and comparing them with similar “rare” materials occurred at lithosphere. Symmetry, forms and materials originated from extreme conditions is the subject analyzed upon an artistic point of view during his cooperative work with sculptors.
Janine Randerson - Between Reason and Sensation: Antipodean Artists and Climate Change
In Aotearoa New Zealand the weather is news; the daily updates on “burn time” from the sun, the diminishing ice in Antarctica, the receding glaciers and the refugee arrivals from the atolls of Tuvalu are never far from the headlines. Climate change presents an immediate threat, yet a lack of community mobilisation reflects the difficulty of rationally conceiving the enormity of the issue. Drawing on my experience as a New Zealand artist who has collaborated with meteorologists, I argue that artists may enter climate change discourse by translating (or mis-translating) objective scientific methods into sensory affect. The paper examines three recent art projects from Australasia, “Anemocinegraph”,”‘The Ice Tower” and “Talking about the Weather”. A comparison is made between these works and a community art project on climate change published in the online magazine ‘Small Islands Voice’ from Southern Polynesia. Although these works engage with logocentric scientific practices they also extend into subjective, analogical interpretations of empirical data to dissolve the classical reason/emotion binary.
The paper cites Herbert Marcuse’s essay “Nature and Revolution” (1972) which argues that sensation is the process which binds us materially and socially to the world. I suggest that these examples of art/science collaboration support Marcuse’s idea that an emancipation of the senses stimulates an understanding of nature as ‘subject-object’, a life force intimately connected to human beings and technologies rather than as ‘object-to-be-exploited’. My 2006 project “Anemocinegraph” and Nola Farman’s work “The Ice Tower” (2000) both harness data from NOAA Satellite-17, our local satellite, to produce experiential media. “Anemocinegraph” is an installation comprising of six hemispheric projection screens with slowly animated satellite images of local weather transmitted from space. The sound pulse is based on micro-meteorological data from a sonic anemometer at a solar powered weather station that monitors carbon emissions in New Zealand’s North Island. Nola Farman’s frozen ‘Ice Tower’ contains water rising and falling according to satellite relay of tide levels at the sub-Antarctic Macquarie Island off the coast of Australia. Drawings by Rarotongan children published in the ‘Small Islands Voice’ also reveal perspectives that could not have been imagined without satellite technology. Finally, I discuss Maria Miranda and Norie Neumark’s current project ‘Talking about the Weather’ which I encountered in Taranaki, New Zealand, as an example of the impossibility of regarding nature as ‘other’. This project considers the effect the human body has on the planet by collecting breath, both conceptually via a blog and by personal encounters with people on the streets. There is poignant pseudo-objectivity in the strategy of collecting our own carbon emissions to counter global warming. In Marcuse’s words, artists are negotiating both ‘imagination, as knowledge’ and scientific data to operate in the space between reasonable and sensational responses to a changing biosphere.
Biography : Janine Randerson is an artist and researcher from Aotearoa-New Zealand. Her art practice includes both site-specific work film, digital audio, video and computer interaction design. A recurrent theme in her work is the play with systems of observation: from the microcosmic imagery to the remote view of satellite imaging. She has exhibited in galleries in Australasia and Europe and she has presented research papers on digital art and cultural theory. In 2005 Janine received a fellowship to work with postgraduate computer science students at the University of Canterbury to examine the intersection of video installation and interactive technology. In 2006 she has collaborated with climate scientists as the digital artist in residence at the University of Waikato. Janine is currently a Lecturer in Art and Design at Unitec in Auckland, where she teaches art and design history, theory and research practice.
Sundar Sarukkai - Philosophy of Major Human Migrations since Ancient Civilisations
Seth Shostak - Human Co Existence with Extraterrestial Intelligence and Establishing Extraterrestrial Civilizations
Jill Scott - The Novel Approach : Art as catalyst from global warming to public debate
Can artistic interpretation be a catalyst to bring the pertinent issues of Global warming to the general public? Using examples from the history of projects, which have been developed about this issue, this paper posits a critical position about the representation of this major problem. In our program: Artists-in-labs, Switzerland long-term residencies immerse artist in scientific research labs so that they can stand in the middle of an informed debate and be prepared for more scientifically robust interpretation and information. Currently, we are developing collaboration with the Planetarium in Lucerne and the Environmental Science Group at the Geobotanic Institute, which will focus on specific issues, ones that directly affect local glacial formation, agriculture and energy consumption. Our methodology in this collaboration is novel because we have created a contextual space where the discourse between the artists and the scientists will inform the educational approach. Inspired by Loyd Anderson, director of science at the National Endowment for Science, Technology and Art (NESTA) in the UK, collaborative thematic spaces and field trips or thematic expeditions are processes or ‘agoras’. By ‘agoras’ he means a substantial creation of time and space in which ethical discussions can take place and ideas can flow. By using an interesting ecological metaphor, he likens the creation of these contextual spaces to the creation of ‘green corridors’ in biology. In biology, these corridors are not isolated biotopes, but holistic fields and communities, which can promote diversity exchange. We believe that the artists one should invite for such a journey should be carefully chosen, with some prior background in the Life Sciences. In another project funded by Greenpeace, entitled Cape Farewell, David Buckland sailed to Antarctica with a group of scientists, artists, journalists, musicians, TV camerapersons and high school teachers. Inspired by a book entitled “The Future of Ice” by Gretel Ehrlich, the aim was to make creative works about global warming alongside the collection of empirical measurements about the effects of global warming on the ice. Although it is a great strategy to visit a place where the effects of climate changes are obvious, unfortunately the group of artists and writers who accompanied the scientists tended to romanticize ice as a beautiful sculptural material instead of constructing artworks, which engage the public in the actual ethical debate at hand. Therefore, the issue of artists being properly pre-exposed to the role of scientific research and resultant proofs is an important aspect to consider for the future of trans-disciplinary collaborations. Our own new project will attempt to combine and swap skills, so that the public understanding of global warming can be more dynamic.
Kartik Vora, Amber Mehta - Unfolding the Surface
I could be bounded in a nutshell and count myself a king of infinite space… Shakespeare, Hamlet II, 2
Space has always fascinated and inspired thinkers and artists alike; they aspire for a new geometric order as a coneptualizing tool. Interestingly, almost all objects developed in the history of mankind are convex, i.e., they are bounded by a surface that negotiates the lim-its of their finite volumes against the expansive infinite space — very much like the skin where our finite body ends and the infinite begins. This insight lead the second author, in 1982, to develop thirty four non-convex polyhedra with identical vertex conditions. Unlike their convex counterparts, which are made by folding a surface so that the sum of all an-gles meeting at a vertice are always less than 360 degrees, the non-convex polyhedra are made by unfolding a plane surface into two independent, interwoven spaces of infinite magnitude.
Recent advances in electromagnetics, nanotechnology, and molecular engineering tech-nologies have brought the applications of non-convex polyhedra in the space architecture within our reach. In this paper we will delineate some of the properties of the non-convex polyhedra and outline their potential applications. The convex polyhedra gave credence tothe notions of micro – macro cosmos and their attending ethos and cultural mores. We end the paper with a polemic: “with the non-convex polyhedra we are set to inaugurate a new kind of metaphysics wherein both the inner and outer are really infinite and hence non-hierarchical. In that context, what will be the ethos of this approach? And further, what will be the aesthetics and spatial expressions this paradigm shift in space design will inspire?”
Observatoire Leonardo des Arts et des Techno-Sciences
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