Space Art – Earth Art – March 1998

2nd Leonardo Space and the Arts Workshop March 29th 1998 – Boulogne- Billancourt – By invitation
This workshop uses English and French, therefore some of the texts presented here can be in English or in French or in both languages depending of what the participants have provided.

Table of contents :


The development of means of observation makes it possible to consider the Earth as an element of an ecology of the solar system as a whole (the study of El Nino for example).
It seems interesting to us to see through artistic experiments how the emergence of an ecology of the solar system brings together spatial and ecological concerns that were previously remote.
This workshop is organized around three axes exploring the mutations of representation in connection with scientific developments:
– “the overview effect”, where how artists work on the vision of the earth from space, from the Land art experiences of the 60s and 70s to the work of Pierre Comte on the marking of the earth.
– The concept of Gaia and the artistic experiments on the notion of an earthly entity such as “The Nerve Garden”, the work of Takemura.
– The ecological point of view: how artists’ work on environmental issues can cross and use scientific points of view, with the work of Jürgen Claus for example.

Le développement des moyens d’observation permet de considérer la Terre comme un élement d’une écologie du système solaire dans sa globalité (l’étude d’El Nino par exemple).
Il nous semble intéressant de voir à travers des expériences artistiques comment l’émergence d’une écologie du système solaire fait se confronter les préoccupations spatiales et écologiques jusqu’alors éloignées.
Ce workshop est organisé autour de trois axes explorant les mutations de la
representation en liaison avec les évolutions scientifiques :
– “l’overview effect”, où comment les artistes travaillent sur la vision de la terre depuis l’espace, des expériences du Land art des années 60/70 jusqu’aux travaux de Pierre Comte sur le marquage de la terre.
– Le concept de Gaïa et les expériences artistiques sur la notion d’une entité terrestre comme ” Nerve Garden”, l’oeuvre de Takemura.
– Le point de vue écologique : comment des travaux d’artistes sur les questions d’environnement peuvent croiser et utiliser les points de vue scientifiques, avec le travail de Jürgen Claus par exemple.


The workshop is co-organized by Leonardo/OLATS, the OURS Foundation and the International Academy for Astronautics.


Jacques Arnould

Biography: He was born 1961, graduated from l’Institut National Agronomique,
Catholic dominican priest , PhD in Theology
CNES collaborator

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Marc Battier

Biography: Artist

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Annick Bureaud - Space Art : Defining a New Territory

Space has fascinated because it was (and still is) an “alien” environment. The vocabulary is significant in this respect (especially in English) : “alien”, “outer” space, designating something which is “outside” the known world, different from our civilization. Space has been a Terra Incognita, external to our lives. And what was fascinating was precisely the exploration of this difference, endless source of wonder and discoveries.
In this late 20th Century, we are facing the reduction of the difference, the blur of the boarder between the “in” and the “out” and the definition and appropriation of a new territory that starts to becoming “ours”. This, again, is perceptible in the language, concepts and representations used :
In our new perception, the frontier of the Earth is no longer the atmosphere. We start using the concept and term of “Greater Earth” which is defined by the sphere of gravitation of our planet, the boundaries are now at 3 millions kilometres away from the surface.
We have the awareness and consciousness that Earth and ourselves are part of a larger eco-system that we can call, after Frank White, the “Overview Effect”.
The term “Space weather” seems normal and is a field of studies (and we acknowledge its influence on our terrestrian lives). The “Martian weather” has been broadcast on TV during the Sojourner Mars mission as commonly as the beaches weather is during Summer time in France.
In 1997, Andreï Ujica released his film Out of the Present. To our knowledge, this is the first feature film about space that is not a science-fiction movie nor strictly speaking a documentary but which is entirely based on footages made by the cosmonauts in and around the MIR Space Station. Taking place during the collapse of USSR, it shows the daily lives of the cosmonauts, away from their country during those important events. Among the strong moments of the film, is the docking with a Space Station that is “real” and not a model cooked with special effects÷ shown for the first time to a large audience.
We have started mapping the Terra Incognita. In this paper we shall argue that the space artworks have contributed to helping the definition and appropriation of this new territory.

Biography: Leonardo Space and the Arts Working Group
Specialist of electronic art. Executive director of CHAOS, non-profit organization which publishes the IDEA/International Directory of Electronic Arts and its online version (IDEA online : http://nunc.com). Art director of ART-EL, an agency which organizes events in the field of art and technology. Art critic : free lance for Art Press, editorial board member of Leonardo. Member of the Leonardo Space and the Arts Project, in charge of the bibliography. Lecturer in electronic art at the art school of Aix-en-Provence.

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Jackie Burns

Biography : European vice president of the International Association for the Astronomical Arts

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Richard Clar - EARTHSTAR: A Space Art Eutectic

EARTHSTAR is a multi-faceted space art project that incorporates some new and innovative approaches to the creation of an interdisciplinary artwork. The following elements are comprised in EARTHSTAR:
1. A ceramic artwork created in space that utilizes the transforming process of heat generated during re-entry.
2. The site-specific markings on Earth – using Differential GPS – of the vertices of a 6,414 kilometers diameter pentagonal star centered in Crete.
3. SPOT IMAGE satellite imagery of the marker sites for the vertices of the pentagonal star.
4. A cultural arts event in Crete to celebrate the millennium, focusing on World peace.

According to Project Ploughshares, in 1995, 44 armed conflicts existed in 39 countries. India, Indonesia, Philippines, Iran, and Iraq were the sites of more than one armed conflict. Children under the age of 15 are being used as soldiers in almost two-thirds of these armed conflicts. These armed conflicts occurred in five broad regions: Africa, the Middle East, Asia, Europe, and The Americas.

EARTHSTAR will create a ceramic artifact in space using mineral samples collected from selected sites in countries involved, or recently involved, in armed conflict. The mineral samples will be combined and formulated into a eutectic slurry that will be applied in the shape of a pentagonal star onto a special ceramic tile and incorporated into the thermal protection system of a recoverable spacecraft. During re-entry, this thermal protective tile, depending upon its location on the spacecraft, will reach temperatures ranging from 2000F-3000F, in essence ìfiringî the ceramic EARTHSTAR tile. Upon the spacecraftís return to Earth, the tile bearing the ceramic artifact will be removed for exhibition and installation at the EARTHSTAR cultural arts event.
There is a certain poetic quality found in eutectics where the melting point is lower for the combined ingredients than that of any of the individual ingredients. An analogy may be made to the process of peace: in order for peace to occur, a ìpolitical eutecticî must be facilitated.
The sites of selected countries involved, or recently involved, in armed conflicts on Earth – used for the collection of mineral samples – will be laid out along five rays 72 degrees apart that start at the center of a pentagonal star and extend out through each vertex. From the center point of the star, located in Crete, a circle with a radius of 3,207 kilometers intersects each of the starís five vertices. Using Differential GPS for precise location of these vertices, a marker will be placed on Earth at the site of each of these five points.
After the markers are in place, the sites will be imaged from space using SPOT IMAGE satellite multi-spectral data. The marking of a site-specific pentagram on Earth is significant in that the center of the pentagram located in Crete has rays from the center through each of the vertices extending through regions of armed conflict. The convergence of these rays in Crete and the eutectic artifact formed from mineral samples fused together in space serve as symbols that point to the possibility of a peaceful future. Human beings communicate through art with symbols that transcend the boundaries of time and culture.
An event in Crete that brings together the arts of diverse cultures in celebration of the millennium along with participation of the countries on the EARTHSTARís five rays of convergence presents a powerful and meaningful message to the World.
copyright 1997 Richard Clar

Biography: Artist, Richard Clar from Art Technologies USA focuses his attention on the creation of art in space and art that utilizes data and processes related to various aspects of space. Subjects range from the Search For Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) to Orbital Debris. Richard’s work is interdisciplinary in nature and seeks to engage a broad audience from varied cultural backgrounds.

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Jürgen Claus- The new Aesthetics of Solar Modules

This resume is based on working experiences of a European Community Project called “BIMODE – Development of bi-functional photovoltaic modules for building integration” with partners from the industry like BP Solar, Bayer AG and from academic institutions like the Polytechnical University in Madrid. Jürgen Claus is head of the working group at the Academy of Media Arts Cologne. In this text he underlines the importance of art in the 20th Century for the aesthetics of solar modules.

Biography: He has edited four sections about solar art in LEONARDO 1995.
BORN in 1935 Berlin, Germany


1954-60 Universities of Marburg, Munich, Germany (Theater, Philosophy, Art)
1972 Artist-in-Residence, Institute for Humanistic Studies, Aspen, USA
1983-88 Fellow, Research Associate, Center for Advanced Visual Studies, MIT, Cambridge, USA
1986 Lecturer, Art and Technology, Academy of Fine Arts, Munich, Germany
1987 Editorial Advisor, Leonardo, International Journal
1989 Director, Centre Overoth, Baelen, Belgium
1991 Professor, Media Art, Academy of Media Arts, Cologne, Germany
1993- Coordinator/Participant, SolArt Global Network (with Nora Claus)
1995- International Co-Editor, Leonardo, International journal
1997-2000- Task Leader, European Community Project BIMODE – Development of bi- functional photovoltaic modules for building integration

Kultuskulum, Aachen, Germany 1992
Haus Basten, Geilenkirchen, Germany 1994
Katholische Akademie, Freiburg, Germany 1996

Arttransition, CAVS/MIT, Cambridge, USA 1975
Sky Art, CAVS/MIT, Cambridge and Munich, Germany 1981, 1983
Electra, Paris, France 1983-84
Art and Technology, Ministry for Research and Technology, Bonn 1984
Terminal Art, ars electronica, Linz, Austria 1986
European Media Festival, Osnabruck, Germany 1988
40 Years in the Federal Republic of Germany, Recklinghausen, Berlin,
Rostock, Germany 1989-90
Artist and the Light, Rheims, France 1991
’68 – Art and Culture, Bauhaus Dessau, Germany 1993
Solar Year – sculptura, Ulm, Germany 1996
Solar Art, Rathaus Leonberg 1997

Wilhelm Lehmbruck Museum, Duisburg, Germany
Stadtische Sammlung, Lenbachhaus, Munich, Germany
Collection Pansa di Biumo, Italy
Atlantic Richfield Company, Los Angeles, USA

Solar Crystal, Juelich, Germany 1995
Solar Icosahedron, Geislingen, Germany 1997/98

Theorien zeitgenössischer Malerei (Theories of Contemporary Painters), Rowohlt Publishers, Hamburg 1963 (new edition: 1986); translated into Italian at Mondadori Kunst heute (Art Today), Rowohlt Publishers, Hamburg 1965 (new edition: 1986)

Expansion der Kunst (Expansion of Art), Rowohlt Publishers 1970 (new edition: 1982); translated into Spanish at Editorial Extemporaneos and into Japanese at Shakai Shisosha Planet Meer (Planet Ocean), DuMont Schauberg, Cologne, Germany 1972; translated into Spanish at Editorial Extemporaneos Treffpunkt Kunst (Meeting Point Art), Keil Editor, Bonn, Germany 1982 Umweltkunst (Environmental Art), Edition Interfrom, Osnabruck, Germany 1982 Das elektronische Bauhaus (The Electronic Bauhaus), Edition Interfrom, Zurich, Switzerland 1987 Elektronisches Gestalten in Kunst und Design (Electronic Creating in Art and Design), Rowohlt Publishers, Hamburg 1991 SonnenMeer – Projekte einer ökologischen Kunst (SunOcean – Projects of Ecological Art), Wienand Publisher, Cologne 1995 Kulturelement Sonne – Das solare Zeitalter (Cultural Element Sun – The Solar Age), Edition Interfrom, Osnabruck, Germany 1997

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Pierre Comte - "ALPHA" of Zero G. Art

I wanted to show that weightlessness, which is already an invaluable environment for the development of, for instance, new molecules or new alloys, can also add to aesthetics.
This has been demonstrated by a very simple artwork : Alpha. It is a small sculpture which consists of 3 spheres of 20 mm in diameter painted with the 3 primary colors. The spheres are linked together by rigid black bars with an articulation at the linkage points.
On Earth, Alpha is an object with no life. In weightlessness, it acquires a kinetic and ..independent life truly spectacular.
The experiment took place on May 28th 1997, onboard the Zero G. Airbus training plane of the CNES in France.
An article about this kinetic space artwork has been published in 1998 in the IAF (International Astronautical Federation) Acta Astronautica.
Pierre Comte

Biography: Artist and chairman of ARSAT association

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David Criswell

Biography: Dr. David R. Criswell is director of the Institute for Space Systems Operations at the University of Houston and is an associate director of the Texas Space Grant Consortium. Both ISSO and the TSGC are chartered to expand the intellectual base for the human development of the resources of the solar system and the exploration of space. The ISSO program focuses on the post-doctoral and graduate research in cooperation with the NASA Johnson Space Center.
Dr. Criswell is a member of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (Assoc. Fellow), the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Sigma Xi, National Space Society, National Council on Systems Engineering, and is associated with several other professional groups in the fields of economics, energy, and geophysical research.
Between 1982 and 1990 Dr. Criswell consulted to 11 corporations, Los Alamos National Laboratory, the National Research Council, fourteen universities, NASA, the Office of Technology Assessment, and Universities Space Research Association. In 1980 Dr. Criswell accepted a research position with the University of California in the newly formed California Space Institute (Cal Space). He formulated local and state-wide research programs, acquired NASA and private research funds, and directed high-level program reviews for NASA.
From 1970 to 1980 Dr. Criswell was a Senior Staff Scientist and programs director at the Lunar and Planetary Institute in Houston, Texas. He directed the peer review of the first 1,000 proposals of experiments to fly on the Space Shuttle and also the first 3,500 proposals for studies of lunar materials and lunar geophysical data. He has directed the peer reviews of over 2,000 other proposals for programs at the University of California, Los Alamos National Laboratory, the State of Illinois, and the University of Houston System.
Dr. Criswell received his B.S. (1963, cum laude) and M.S.(1964) in physics at the University of North Texas in Denton, Texas and the Ph.D. (1968) in the fields of Space Physics and Astronomy from Rice University in Houston, Texas. He worked as a member of the technical staff of TRW – Houston Operations in 1968 – 1970 on projects related to the Apollo program and in advanced planning for post-Apollo programs. Dr. Criswell has published and/or delivered over 200 research articles, contract reports, and advisory reports. He has 17 U.S. and international patents in the fields of rocketry, space/lunar solar power systems, aerospace planes, and propulsion systems.
Criswell, D. R., “Solar-electric power via the moon,” Power Technology International, pp. 24 – 26, Spring, 1997. And in press with errata, in Environmental Strategies – Asia., February, 1998. Criswell, D. R., “Lunar-solar power system: Needs, concept, challenges, pay-offs,” IEEE Potentials, pp. 4-7, April/May, 1996. Criswell, D. R. and Waldron, R. D., “International lunar base and the lunar-based power system to supply Earth with electric power,” Acta Astronautica, 29, No. 6, pp. 469-480, 1993. Goeller, H. E. and Weinberg, A. M., “The age of substitutability,” Science, 191, pp. 683-689, 1976. Ausubel, J. H., “Can technology save the Earth?,” American Scientist, 84, pp.166 – 178, 1996. ISSO/Un. of Houston, Houston.

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Kitsou Dubois

Biography: Her work is based on research dealing space and weighlessness
Worked on the Astronauts special training for the CNES. Searcher associed to the CNRS 1991/93. Creation “Gravite Zero” a la Grande Halle de la Villette octobre 1996. Teach at l’Ecole Nationale des Beaux-arts de Dijon.

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Nathalie Lafforgue

Biography: Electronic and contemporany art observer, Leonardo Europe co-ordinating

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Rob La Frenais

Biography: Rob La Frenais is a curator, currently working with the science-art agency The Arts Catalyst. They are working on projects connected with Space, Atomic Power, and the Total Eclipse of 1999. They promote collaborations between scientists and artists and promoted a debate on human space exploration at London’s Royal Institution earlier this year.

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Roger F. Malina

Space Arts Leonardo working group

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Christine Malina-Maxwell

Chilliad publishing

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Hervé Moulin

Art and literature commitee of the International Astronautic Academy

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Douglas O'Handley - Mars Exploration and Astrobiology

The new field of “Astrobiology” is defined as:
Astrobiology is the study of life in the universe. This story begins with the origin of the universe and the ability of matter to self-organize. It proceeds through time and space from atoms produced in stars and ejected by supernova explosions, to organic molecules in space, and thus to the formation of stars and planets, comets and cells. Astrobiology challenges us to understand the origin of life on Earth and to search for life elsewhere. It suggests the possibilities of life on Mars, and raises the prospect of terrestrial evolution in extraterrestrial environments.
Astrobiology is the story of how an infinitesimal amount of the matter of the universe assembled into the human mind allows humankind to contemplate its history and determine the course ours of its own evolution.
A montage of pictures was assembled into a global picture of Mars. Recent photos of from the Mars Global Surveyor show terraces in a canyon which is another confirmation that Mars must have had oceans and a wetter past. The possibility of finding fossil remains is very high. It will take human exploration on the surface of Mars early in the 21St Century to select and return artifacts to the Earth for detailed examination.
A montage of pictures from the Pathfinder Mission, which landed on Mars this past summer, was shown. This montage of three photos shows in the upper right hand corner a view about three hours before sunrise which shows clouds possibly made of water vapor, the middle image is a full Martian daylight picture, and the final photo in the lower corner show sunset on Mars. These photos could almost have been taken in the American
Southwest where there is not much vegetation and the rugged hills are outlined at sunset.
As we pursue the origin and evolution of Mars we will learn more about our very origin and perhaps understand what went wrong with evolution on Mars

Biography: NASA scientist, IAF Space Exploration Committee

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Karen O'Rourke

Biography: Artist,
lives in Paris,
teacher in Paris University Paris I

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Lucy Orta - Presentation of her artwork

Scaphandres Urbains (Urban Armour) is the description that Paul Virilio gives to a body of work that I have been researching since 1991. The Collins Robert dictionary translates the French word Scaphandres into: individual insulating suits for deep sea divers or astronauts. So Scaphandres could also be a kind of personal environment.
” The garment is no longer perceived as a mere covering close to the body, as a second skin, but also as a form of packaging, in other words, half way between architecture and dress. We know that there are several skins: underwear, the clothes themselves, the overcoat. We could continue this onion-layer approach by saying that after the overcoat there is the sleeping bag, that after the sleeping bag comes the tent, that after the tent comes the container… Lucy’s clothes emancipate themselves, expand to try to become a house, a pneumatic raft… the garment becomes more than mere clothing; it is a vehicle, a survival vehicle which protects against anonymity. ” Paul Virilio, Lucy Orta Refuge Wear, éditions Jean-Michel Place,1996

” Habitent ”
The “personal environments ” are infact Refuge Wear. They are mobile shelters, both wearable and transportable, they synthesise a new personal climate, a new environment which follows man and his movements and contains all the personal belongings necessary for living. Working with recent commercial textile developments that weave inox, coat fabrics with microporous membranes, heat seal and apply polyurethane treatments onto the same surface, Refuge Wear becomes a kind of urban space suit. The astronaut’s space suit with integrated temperature canalisation, has been replaced to create a different type of ” home security ” for completely new, social, conditions.

Survival Sac with water reserve incorporated, 1994 – Micorporous laminated polyester, PU coated polyester, meditative objects, folding aluminium structure.

Refuge Wear provides: immediate assistance for urgent situations such as natural or political catastrophes; it is a shelter for people living in precarious conditions; Refuge Wear allows mobility in response to the needs of migrant populations, the occupants of the garments; it provides a personal space, a refuge at a distance from the rest of the world, a space for reflexion and meditation; and can provide an osmosis with nature, a more intimate contact witht the natural environment.

Body Architecture – Collective wear 4 persons
The space conquest emancipated our terrestrial framework. Man crossed boundaries in his space suit while still being attached to an orbital satelite. Today we have lost this umbilical link with our ” mother earth ” and are faced with the problems of homelessness, disoriented youth and social disintegration.

Nexus Architecture
Individuals are socially alone. With Nexus Architecture I couple them together via the “Social Link”, the “Nexus”, to re-create the human bond. One individual life depends on the life of the other. The Warmth of one gives warmth to the other. The physical link weaves the social link.

The Unit attached down the side, is a human chain, each link with a different face and identity. Worn, transported and performed, these extensions of the body become a part of the ” social position “, placing the individual into a group scene, in a space and interacting with an environment. The body may appear dislocated, trapped by its surrounding architecture, but through human contact and exchange, the body can be detached and liberated, to re-form.

With Modular Dome several people share a common space. The individuals can detach as demi-bodies and can couple together again to establish an new entity. Construction and reconstruction are negociated to re-establish a common space.

I would like to close this presentation with a message from Martin Luther King Nobel Peace prize laureate speech 1964
” In spite of the spectacular strides in science and technology, and still unlimited ones to come, something basic is missing. There is a sort of poverty of the spirit which stands in glaring contrast to our scientific and technological abundance. The richer we have become materially, the poorer we have become morally and spiritually. We have learned to fly the air like birds and swim like fish, but we have not learned the simple art of living together as brothers.

Biography: Artist,
lives in Paris,
(Studio ORTA)

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Jean-Marc Philippe

Biography: Artist
Space art pionner, since 1975 is working to joint spacial technologies and imaginative creativity. For exemple in 1987 : “Message from Human Beings to the Universe” 10 500 messages sent by the Nancay Radiotelescope to the heart of our galaxie. Since 1983, he is working on the shape memory alloying.

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Nicola Triscott

Working with Rob La Frenais.

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Tracey Warr - Space Cowboys

Images of earth from space have given us a new perspective on ourselves, or perhaps renewed an old one. From ancient sacred sites to 20th century land art – from Stonehenge to James Turrell’s Roden Crater, large scale earth art sites mediate between the human and the vastnesses of cosmological and geological space and time.
The deserts and vast spaces of the American West – Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico and Utah – contain a collection of large-scale contemporary artworks by Michael Heizer, Charles Ross, Nancy Holt, James Turrell, Walter De Maria and Robert Smithson. These works are naked eye observatories, or structures creating perspectives on the land, the horizon and forces of nature. Deserts and plains, like the sea, the sky and outer space challenge the limits of the optical. They offer both a visual plenitude – boundless horizons, and the no-space of sensory deprivation. They are detached from the social.
Large-scale earth and stone works – ancient to contemporary – bring the space of the sky down into the human space and scale. They are a form of remote viewing of cosmic space and time – of accessing something beyond human vision. Instead of man, the cosmos becomes the measure of all things. These sites comprehend the immensity of the solar system. They order human psychic existence across the surface of the earth, under the sky. ‘I’m not trying to direct… metaphysics,’ writes artist Charles Ross, ‘just trying to point out that we’re directly plugged into it.’ Geology becomes analogous to consciousness and memory. ‘The aeriel view,’ as Turrell points out, ‘reveals the vitality of the earth and the passing and reemerging of cultures.’
Both space and these earth art sites take us out of the Western notion of the cumulative, terminal, short-lived individual self and put us back into a relationship with the flow of human and nonhuman spacetime. ‘People are afraid to dissolve themselves into any sort of human cosmic consciousness,’ writes Turrell. But from cave man to space man we have encompassed inner and outer space with structures on the surface of the earth, and now with our exploration of space itself.

Biography: Tracey Warr is a curator and currently a researcher at the Surrey Institute of Arts and Design. Her major book on body art, published by Phaidon, will appear later this year. She has worked on a number of site-specific projects, including one by artist James Turrell, whose massive Roden Crater land art installation opens to the public in 2000.

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Chris Welch

Biography: Artist and Chairman of the Art and litterature commitee of the International Astronautic Academy

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Arthur Woods - Report from the workshop

For the second year in the row artists and scientists working in the space field met at the home of Mrs. Majorie Malina on the outskirts of Paris. Mrs. Malina is the wife of the late Frank Malina – pioneer kinetic artist, space engineer and the founder of the art, science and technology journal LEONARDO. The initiator of this Space Art Workshop is his son, astrophysicist Roger Malina who is the present editor of the journal which has just celebrated its thirtieth anniversary. Co-sponsors of the event were LEONARDO, the OURS Foundation and the Sub-committee for the Arts and Literature of the International Academy of Astronautics. The workshop provides a platform for the discussion of leading edge art concepts and promotes interaction between artists and scientistists.
Approximately 20 persons attended this year’s event which was organized around short presentations by most of the persons in attendance. The program started at 10 o’clock in the morning and lasted into the early evening. The discussions were carried out in the comfortable living room – former artist’s studio – where the walls were covered by a collection of artworks from Frank Malina and his colleagues.
Similar annual discussions about space and art organized by Frank Malina were held in this same location in previous years.

The theme for 1998 was “Space Art / Earth Art”

Space exploration now allows humans to consider planet Earth within the larger ecology of the solar system. Scientists are studying solar weather – the interaction of the solar wind and solar variability on the earths weather and climate; the impact of collisions by comets and meteors on the evolution of life; possible ways that life may spread from one planet to another; space debris and pollution. Scientists now seek to understand the variations of climate on Earth and other planets. This workshop will address artists work in environmental issues and ecology as they connect to the larger contest of the solar system and space exploration.
The first speaker of the day was Jürgen Claus, artist, author and Professor for Media Arts at the Academy of Media Arts in Cologne, Germany. His presentation centered around his series of Kinetic Solar Sculptures which utilize photovoltaics to provide light and movement to the sculptures. A short video was shown illustrating the effects these works achieved.
His presentation sparked a series of questions from David Criswell, director of the Institute for Space Systems Operations at the University of Houston, and originator of the Lunar Solar Power concept which proposes to supply all of Earth’s energy needs with solar power generated on the Moon and beamed to Earth. Dr. Criswell later presented his concept to the group and explained the economic benefits to the world economy if such a system would be installed. Criswell confidently pointed out that as the demand and price for energy rises in the next decade, his system offers the only viable and economically feasible alternative.

Chris Welch, Principal lecturer in Astronautics at Kingston University, U.K., presented an interesting study called: “The Design and Form of the Extraterrestrial Garden”. Gardens have special significance for human beings and Welch said that it seems unlikely that this activity will fade as humans move into space. However, the design and form of extraterrestrial gardens are bound to be significantly different from their terrestrial equivalents. His slide show presentation examined existing terrestrial notions and forms of the garden and the concept of idea, place and action, and then compared them against the extraterrestrial context. His concluding slide was of a “Moon Garden” carried out on the style of the meditative rock gardens found in Japan.

In a similar vein, art historian Tracy Warr, gave an interesting presentation about site specific Earth Art and the work of environmental artist James Turrell. Interestingly some of these types of Earthworks could be the inspiration for the extraterrestrial gardens that Chris Welch talked about.

The “garden theme” continued into the afternoon when space artist Arthur Woods discussed the concept of “Greater Earth” – a redefinition of the the perception of our planet’s boundaries as defined by its gravitational influence rather than its atmosphere. Woods proposed that this area, which includes the Moon, occasional passing asteroids and 30,000 more solar energy than that which available on the surface of the planet, is much like the territorial waters surrounding the continents and should be exploited for the benefit of Earth. He then presented his newest space art project called “SEEDS” – which proposes to stimulate the concept of directed panspermia – seeding other parts of the cosmos with the elements of “Life” from Earth. He reported that a proposal of his to place a “seed” on the Moon in the year 2001 was a victim to the cancellation of the EuroMoon initiative by the European Space Agency just days before. Woods said his approach to this project is to look for other space flight possibilities and to try to “piggyback” on these missions.

Very closely related to this theme was the presentation by Doug O’Handley from the new Astrobiology Institute created by NASA. O’Handley passed around a selection of recent NASA photographs of Mars which indicated the presence of ice and water vapor in the atmosphere of Mars. This led directly to an intense discussion of the evidence and speculation of past life on Mars and to the possibility of humanity one day “terraforming” Mars to become a second home to our species. O’Handley stated that the purpose of NASA’s Astrobiology Institute was in response in a very strong public and scientific interest in understanding the origin and existence of Life in the universe.

The theme of “Life in the Universe” is surely no problem to the artists members of the International Association of Astronomical Artists (IAAA) represented by Jackie Burns the European Vice-president. These artists have been depicting such themes for years in their paintings and illustrations. She also shared some photographs of her cosmic artworks.

Jean-Marc Philippe and his wife Karin, explained the latest developments in their two ongoing space art projects. The “Mars Sphere” and “KEO” – the archaeological bird of the future. While much of the technical details and support are in place for the realization of KEO, Jean-Marc explained how his project was in need of additional staff to meet his public participation objectives.

Rob La Frenais spoke about his London based Art Catalyst project and the Solar wind proposed for the London Planetarium. He also discussed the recent art event and forum in London which included Kitsou Dubois who has performed dance in weightlessness and Roger Malina. A magazine article resulting from this event was passed around.

Though unable to attend, French space artist Pierre Comte sent a video of two of his space art projects “Signature Terre” – a large symbol of the Earth created out of black plastic sheets and photographed by a spot satellite and his “sculpture gravite zero” which was flown on a parabolic flight that provided weightlessness.

Californian space artist Richard Clar, gave the group an update on his latest space art endeavor “Earth Star” indicating that he was currently in discussion with an aerospace firm which could provide his project with the spaceflight opportunity it needs. A central element to the Earth Star concept is a ceramic tile mounted on the exterior of a spacecraft containing soil elements from different parts of the world which would be melted together upon reentry into the atmosphere.

Lucy Orta, an American artist living in Paris presented a fashion slide show. Her art costumes resembled isolated environmental garments that could be connected or attached to others wearing similar garments. She showed examples of how this project has been implemented in different localities around the world.

Annick Bureaud talked about how the context for ideas such as space art are changing as the society focuses on other issues. This provoked a round of discussion about how the topic of space art could be better presented in future settings.

Nathalie Lafforgue, LEONARDO’s Paris coordinator discussed the difficulties of her role as a cultural administrator in one of poorest areas of Paris where unemployment is high.

At the end of the day, everyone agreed that the workshop was both fun and stimulating. Suggestions for next year’s topic were discussed as well as suggestions for a longer two or three day workshop. Roger Malina said that the co-organizers of the workshop would continue to work together and announce plans for a third Paris Space Art Workshop before the end of the year.

Biography: Artist and Chairman of the Art and litterature commitee of the International Astronautic Academy

⇧ Participants


Bureaud Annick – Space Art: Defining a New Territory, 1998


The original website of the conference