Republic of the Moon, Liverpool

A touring exhibition of artists' works that reimagine the future of the Moon. Combining lunar narratives, fantasies and futures, Republic  of the Moon reclaims the Moon for artists, idealists, and dreamers.

As the players in the new 21st century race for the Moon line up – the USA rejoining China, India and Russia and jostling with private corporations interested in exploiting the Moon’s resources – a group of artists are declaring a Republic of the Moon: a ‘micronation’ for alternative visions of lunar life.

Republic of the Moon challenges utilitarian plans of lunar mines and military bases with artists’ imaginings and interventions. Combining beguiling fantasies, personal encounters, and playful appropriations of space habitats and scientific technologies, Republic of the Moon reclaims the Moon for artists, idealists, and dreamers.

The last race to the Moon was driven by the political impulses of the Cold War, but shaped by extraordinary visions of space created by writers, film-makers, and artists, from Jules Verne, Lucien Rudaux, and Vasily Levshin, to HG Wells, Stanislav Lem and Stanley Kubrick. Can artists’ quixotic visions reconcile our romantic notions of the Moon with its colonised future, and help us to reimagine our relationship with our natural satellite in the new space age?

Curated by Arts Catalyst and FACT, Republic of the Moon includes major new commissions by Agnes Meyer-Brandis and WE COLONISED THE MOON, and works by Leonid Tishkov, Andy Gracie, Liliane Lijn and Sharon Houkema.

The Moon Goose Analogue: Lunar Migration Bird Facility, Agnes Meyer-Brandis’ poetic-scientific investigations weave fact, imagination, storytelling and myth, past, present and future. In this major new work  the artist develops an ongoing narrative based on the book ‘The Man in the Moone’, written by the English bishop Francis Godwin in 1603, in which the protagonist flies to the Moon in a chariot towed by ‘moon geese’. Meyer-Brandis has actualised this concept by raising eleven moon geese from birth in Italy, giving them astronauts’ names*, imprinting them on herself as goose-mother, training them to fly and taking them on expeditions. The artist will build a remote Moon analogue habitat for the geese, which will be operated from a control room within the gallery. (* Neil, Svetlana, Gonzales, Valentina, Friede, Juri, Buzz, Kaguya-Anousheh, Irena, Rakesh, Konstantin-Hermann).

Luring us onto the surface of the Moon, WE COLONISED THE MOON (Sue Corke and Hagen Betzwieser) will create an immersive audience experience, Enter At Own Risk. For this new commission, the artists will create an intimate immersive installation in the form of a laboratory-like room in which a lone astronaut tenderly gardens a group of rocks, spraying them periodically with the smell of the Moon - a scent the artists have had synthesised based on reports from the Apollo crew.  The artists question what is real and what is imagined? the nature of the fake and the authentic object, the art of showmanship and illusion through this experimental performance piece, drawing on the entertainment iconography of early astronaut training.

Leonid Tishkov’s Private Moon, by contrast, brings the Moon down to us. Tishkov tells the story of a man who met the Moon and stayed with her for the rest of his life. In a series of photographs, the artist pairs images of his private moon with verse which describes how the Moon helps us to overcome our loneliness in the universe by uniting us around it. Tishkov and his illuminated moon have travelled the world for almost ten years. He has a dream to fly with her to the Moon.

Transforming the everyday into the mesmerisingly beautiful, Sharon Houkema’s M3, created with characteristic simplicity with an overhead projector and a bucket of water, conjures a moon so tantalisingly close you can almost hold it.

Interweaving artistic metaphor and scientific rigour, Andy Gracie‘s DIY-astrobiology experiment Drosophila Titanus attempts to select and breed an organism – a new strain of fruit fly – that might survive on Titan, a moon of Saturn. The artist recreates the environmental and atmospheric conditions found on Titan using everyday materials such as vodka, smoke alarms and a bicycle pump. The first iteration of the experiment was performed by Gracie with Kuaishen Auson, Janine Fenton and Meredith Walsh, in Laboratory Life co-commissioned by Arts Catalyst and Lighthouse earlier this year.

In Liliane Lijn’s moonmeme, the artist reveals her concept to write on the Moon from the Earth using a laser beam. The word ‘SHE' is projected onto the surface of the moon, the meaning of this word being gradually transformed as the Moon moves through its phases, the work combines territorial appropriation, the technological extension of human consciousness and mythologies. moonmeme is a symbolic union of opposites and an homage to the feminine principal of transformation and renewal.

The artists in Republic of the Moon regard the lunar orb not as a resource to be exploited but as a heavenly body that belongs to us all. Who will be the first colonisers of the Moon? Perhaps it should be the artists.

Occupy the Moon

To coincide with the opening of Republic of the Moon, Arts Catalyst has commissioned Tony White to write a short fiction Occupy the Moon.

Supported by

Republic of the Moon is a touring exhibition and programme curated by Arts Catalyst and FACT. It has been made possible with Grants for the Arts support from Arts Council England.

Moon Goose Analogue: Lunar Migration Bird Facility, 2011 links directly to Meyer-Brandis's, Moon Goose Colony, 2011, a project during her residency at Pollinaria, Italy, the site of the remote analogue habitat where the artist has raised and houses the colony of moon geese. Pollinaria, Italy

FACT, AV Festival 2012, Arts Council England

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Primate Cinema: Apes as Family

A two-screen video installation made for and with chimpanzees by artist Rachael Mayeri in collaboration with comparative psychologist Dr Sarah Jane Vick.

This documentary outlines their project.

The Project

In Primate Cinema: Apes as Family, the artist imagines a primate social drama in a contemporary urban context and shows this to a chimpanzee audience. Her two-screen video installation juxtaposes the drama enacted by humans in the guise of apes (of a young female city ape befriending a group of outsiders) with mesmerising footage of the reactions of its ape audience at Edinburgh Zoo.

As the watchers of the watching chimps, we perceive - or we imagine - fascination, puzzlement, and flashes of anger in their responses. Sited in different spaces in Los Angeles and Edinburgh we are never sure whether we are seeing a lab, zoo, wildlife park, rumpus room or post-apocalyptic landscape inhabited by half chimp/half humans. Mayeri’s intriguing and amusing story-and-response structure contains darker undercurrents in its contemplation of the lives of our captive close relatives.

To make Primate Cinema: Apes as Family artist Rachel Mayeri collaborated with comparative psychologist Dr Sarah-Jane Vick, testing different styles and genres of film to gauge chimps’ responses and discussing issues around cognition and communication in research primates.   


Rachel Mayeri is a Los Angeles-based artist working at the intersection of art and science exploring subjects ranging from the history of special effects to the human animal.  Her ‘animated documentaries’ often combine motion graphics, live action, documentary, storytelling and Hollywood-style genres.  In 2009 her Primate Cinema: Baboons as Friends (2007), a film noir re-enactment of a baboon social drama with human actors, was presented by The Arts Catalyst as part of Interspecies: artists collaborating with animals in London and Manchester.

Partnerships

Primate Cinema: Apes as Family, a collaboration between Rachel Mayeri and Dr. Sarah Jane Vick, has been commissioned by The Arts Catalyst.

Support

Wellcome Trust Arts Award, Mediterranean Institute of Advanced Studies and Arts Council England. With the kind support and collaboration of Edinburgh Zoo's Budongo Trail.

Websites

Rachel Mayeri

Edinburgh Art Festival

Exhibition tour

Exhibition & Symposium, The Arts Catalyst, London

Primate Cinema: Apes as Family will be shown in a solo exhibition at The Arts Catalyst, 50-54 Clerkenwell Road, London
19 October-13 November 2011
Cinema as Primatology symposium with Rachel Mayeri and Sarah Jane Vick
Tuesday 18 October 2011, 4-6pm
The Crypt, St James Church, Clerkenwell Green, London EC1R 0EA
Admission free, booking essential. Online booking here:

Screening 

Primate Cinema: Apes as Family screening and talk with curator Rob La Frenais
7pm Wednesday 7 December 2011, Nottingham Contemporary, Nottingham

Nottingham Contemporary

Exhibition & Salon, Abandon Normal Devices Festival, Liverpool

Primate Cinema: Apes as Family première at AND Festival, Liverpool
29 September-2 October 2011, 11am-6pm
TAO Gallery space, Slater Street, Liverpool

Simian Safari - AND festival Salon event 
Sunday 2 October 2011, 3-5.30pm
Hosted by Rob La Frenais, with Rachel Mayeri and Sarah-Jane Vick.  
What is it that makes us human? Does trying to understand other intelligent species such as chimpanzees or dolphins tell us something about ourselves, our belief that we are somehow unique? In this salon and bus tour of Knowsley Safari Park we explore interspecies communication and whether we can break free of what John Berger called the “loneliness of man as a species”. 

Abandon Normal Devices Festival

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The Great Glen Artists Airshow

The third international artists' airshow

The Great Glen is a huge natural fissure in the earth, encompassing Loch Ness and the Caledonian Canal. In September it will be the site for the Great Glen Artists’ Airshow, with activities that redefine the air as medium taking place at either end of it. Previous Arts Catalyst artists airshows, in 2004 and 2007, involved artists flying objects or investigating aeronautical culture. In common with these earlier airshows movement through air and landscape will be explored. Yet this year’s event will be more abstract, redefining the philosophical territory of the air and the ownership, or the mapping of the spatial landscape.
At one end of the Great Glen will be the main site, at the Highland Institute for Contemporary Art (HICA), with activities taking place on nearby Loch Ruthven, in the woodlands and on the open brae, or fell.  At the other end of the Glen will be the unique Utopian venture, London Fieldworks' project Outlandia, a treehouse for artists in the sky, in Glen Nevis. The two-day event should prove a unique, unusual and rewarding participatory art experience.

(Gaelic information available - see menu on left of this page)

New publication now available

A Journey though the Great Glen to the Library of Outlandia, mapped out by Adam Dant, published by The Arts Catalyst for Great Glen Artists Airshow is now available for £3 (inc UK postage and packing).  SATURDAY 18 SEPTEMBER

The Great Glen Artists’ Airshow, free performances and events at HICA

  • an airborne investigation of wind currents above Loch Ruthven by Dutch artists Esther Polak and Ivar van Bekkum. Polak will be extending her inventive use of global positioning (GPS) technology in her live performance beside the water in this collaboration.  
  • Bruce Gilchrist and Jo Joelson of London Fieldworks will present new work, installed in the woodland behind the loch, which imagines the flight path of birds as augurs, or omens, part of an ancient tradition of divination by birds. This new project was made in collaboration with a former hunter turned bird guide in the Brazilian Atlantic Rainforest. London Fieldworks are also the creators of Outlandia, the destination of the Sunday bus tour event.  
  • Poet and artist Alec Finlay will read Sky-wheels poems beneath a wind turbine reached through the woodland.
  • Brazilian artist Camila Sposati will create a vast smoke drawing across the horizon of the fell, Yellow Vanishing Point, tracing the landscape, perspectives and contours of the hills, in an ephemeral performance that dissolves into the ether.
  • Participatory flying of 'supremacist kites' by artist, Susanne Norregard Nielsen, suitable for those with kite-flying experience.

Open Air meal at HICA 5-8pm
The Territory of the Air, HICA 6-7.30pm.  Free progamme of talks by artists about the military/industrial and aerospace presence in remote places such as Scotland.

  • Artist, Louise K Wilson will discuss her Spadeadam project in which she attempted to trace the remains of Britain's cancelled space programme, Blue Streak
  • Gair Dunlop will provide insights into his photographic and video work relating to contemporary archaeology of the airfield and his forthcoming project at the nuclear reactor Dounreay
  • Esther Polak will talk about the implications and possibilities of increased civilian uses of GPS technologies
  • Claudia Zeiske, Director, Deveron Arts and cultural activist will talk about Walking and Art, in relation to Huntly’s Walking Festival and the recent residency at Deveron arts by Hamish Fulton

SUNDAY 19 SEPTEMBER

Perambulatory bus tour of the Great Glen, 10am-5pm, conducted by artist Adam Dant, in conversation with The Arts Catalyst curator Rob La Frenais.  This day-long event takes place along the length of the spectacular glen and will reveal unusual and possibly hidden aspects of Loch Ness and the Caledonian canal with the aid of a new ‘aerial map’, Biblioteque Outlandia, devised by Dant.  

The climax of the journey will be the arrival at and the first public unveiling of Outlandia, the tree house for artists, which will be inhabited by Adam Dant in the manner of the Scottish enlightenment. Dant will be the first of many artists to transform the Utopian aerial studio, devised and designed by London Fieldworks as a long-term artists project for Fort William. 

Partners

The Artists' Airshow is presented by The Arts Catalyst in association the Highland Institute of Contemporary Art (HICA) and Sunday's bus tour created in partnership with London Fieldworks' Outlandia artist's treehouse project in Glen Nevis.

Support

Arts Council England, Scottish Arts Council, Henry Moore Foundation, Mondriaan Foundation, Highland Culture Fund, Brazilian Ministry of Culture, The British Council,
Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, H2007, Highland Council and Nevis Partnership

Artists' websites

Esther Polak, Ivar van Bekkum, London Fieldworks, Alec Finlay, Camila Sposati, Susanne Norregard Nielsen, Louise K Wilson, Gair Dunlop, Claudia Zeiske, Adam Dant

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A Memorial for the Still Living

An art installation presenting British animal and plant species on the edge of extinction.

Exploring the ‘dark places’ of zoological science, Beatriz da Costa presents a sombre reflection on endangered species of the British Isles.

A Memorial for the Still Living is a contemporary art installation which confronts visitors with the reality of British species threatened with extinction. It is a continuation of da Costa’s investigation into interspecies.  Her interest here is to confront visitors with the only mode of encounter left once a species has grown extinct: the description, image, sound or taxidermed shell of a once thriving organism. However, rather than focusing on already extinct species, da Costa’s focus is on the ‘still living’; species that have been classified as being under threat, but which still stand a chance for survival if immediate action is taken. 

Da Costa posits that, after they have been eradicated from our planet as a result of hunting, loss of habitat or climate change, our only opportunities for interaction with these species will be with bottled and mounted specimens.  The possibility of an encounter ‘in the flesh’ will have disappeared, with humans reduced to studying preserved examples of each species.

To realize this exhibit, da Costa has worked in collaboration with collection curators at the Horniman Museum and the Natural History Museum in London. Central to her installation are taxidermed specimens of endangered animals alongside preserved botanical samples of plants under threat. Each specimen has been given a ‘birth date’ (the date of classification and inclusion into the corpus of western science) as well as a ‘death date’ (the date of projected extinction).

To coincide with the exhibition, da Costa released the Endangered Species Finder, a mobile application that facilitates encounters with other species within their ‘natural’ environments.  She believed that experience and encounter, not just policy and regulations, are what ultimately change our behavior towards our environment. Through her encouragement of a ‘go out and meet the species before it’s too late’ attitude, da Costa hoped to make a small contribution to the collective effort of examining our current relationships to non-human species. 

"The 'dark place' that they come from is the storage rooms in the bowls of museum, and their implied destination is the black hole of oblivion, sparingly illuminated by the hazy memories of the dwindling few who have encountered them," wrote Sally O'Reilly.

Beatriz da Costa is an interdisciplinary artist based in Los Angeles. She works at the intersection of art, politics, engineering and the life sciences.  

Partners

A Memorial for the Still Living is being presented in association with the Horniman Museum.  It was commissioned by The Arts Catalyst and co-curated with the Office of Experiments, John Hansard Gallery and SCAN, for Dark Places in 2009.

Artist's website

Beatriz da Costa

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Uncontrolled Hermetic

An installation by Neal White, commissioned for the CleanRooms exhibition

Uncontrolled Hermetic remodelled the activities and methods of the controlled areas or clean rooms used by scientists and manufacturers to conduct experiments and build specialist equipment. The visitor fulfilled the final part of this system, as the contaminating or contaminated body, the weakest link in the ultraclean technology chain: a human being. The installation featured a single life-size human figure 'bagged' in a bunny suit made of felt. The figure stands outside a clean room, which houses a Victorian drawing machine that makes self-generated drawings.

Neal White's work has engaged with the methods, structures, systems and agendas relating to scientific and technological development. He became interested in clean rooms whilst working on recent projects in genetics and pharmaceutical laboratories in the UK at the Human Genome Mapping Project and Pfizer Research and during a research visit to space laboratories in Marseille, France UK Presentations.

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Silvers Alter

Silvers Alter is an interactive installation that takes the form of a large-scale projection within which human forms "live"

This is a stage for artificial evolution where human ‘control models’ and their created offspring are the subjects for the audience to manipulate and mate. The ‘beings’ that the viewer creates have never existed before - the process of selection generates creatures and sounds with their own individual resonance. The audience exerts selective choice to shape the flow of random mutation and therefore directs the evolutionary course. The audience creates the ‘artworks’ in a real-time experience.
 
The installation takes the form of a large scale back-projection on which human forms ‘live’. These figures are changed by the audience’s presence and movement within the space. Interactivity is very physical. It encourages a social, physical and verbal interaction between people before the interaction with technology.
 
The project is an experimental observation of the development of consciousness and science. It is not a fictive game with still unexamined possibilities of genetics and it does not aim to popularise scientific discoveries. It raises many questions: To what extent are we prepared to participate in all that we have made possible and that we aspire to make possible for ourselves? How do we make decisions about who to propagate and who to terminate? When does data become information become knowledge?
 
It gives the audience the power to create, eliminate and stare, to immortalize their created offspring in data image banks and DNA profiles. Generations are displayed in the growing archive of screen-grab prints pinned around the space – a record of the changing population over time - and different populations will emerge from different locations, countries, nations. Decisions and their effect 10 generations, 100 generations later can be seen – like evolution in fast forward.

 

Artist's Biography

Gina Czarnecki works in time-based and digital media making single screen, photographic and installation work. Her recent work has focussed on the ethical and cultural issues raised from the scientific and technological advances in the fields of genetic engineering as well as on their future commercial and non-commercial uses. 

 

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GenTerra

Participatory theatre project by Critical Art Ensemble and Beatriz da Costa, shown as part of the CleanRooms exhibition

GenTerra is a performance by the artists Critical Art Ensemble and Beatriz da Costa. GenTerra is the name used by the artists to represent a company dealing with "transgenics" – the isolation of one or more genes from one or more organisms to create another, new organism. Products created through this process – for example, transgenically modified foods – have often caused controversy. GenTerra claims to produce organisms that help solve ecological or social problems.

GenTerra is essentially a participatory "theater" comprising a lab tent, four computer stations displaying the company’s informational CD-Rom, and a bacteria release machine. On entering the space, the public is invited to discuss the facts and issues surrounding transgenics with the artists and scientists, who are dressed in white lab coats. Materials are then provided to allow people to make and store their own transgenic bacteria in the GenTerra tent. Visitors become actively involved in the area of risk assessment by deciding whether or not to release bacteria from one of the twelve petri dishes of the release machine. Eleven of the dishes have wild (non-transgenic) bacteria samples taken locally, and one contains the transgenic bacteria. Should the dish with the transgenic bacteria be selected, a robotic arm will pick up the lid of the dish, leave it open for about 5 seconds, and then replace the lid on the dish. Participants are informed that the transgenic bacteria they may be releasing is a benign, crippled lab strain that is released in laboratories on a routine basis.

By setting itself up as a corporation that is driven by profit, but also by a sense of social responsibility, GenTerra highlights the complex relationship between for-profit ventures and the ethical considerations involved in transgenics research and product development. The project aims to make the general public more aware of transgenics, and the facts and fictions that surround it.

GenTerra was created in consultation with Dr. Bob Ferrell, Department of Genetics, University of Pittsburgh, and Linda Kauffman, Department of Molecular Biology, the Mellon Institute, along with Beatriz da Costa, Robotic Art Researcher, Carnegie Mellon University, Semi Ryu and Garth Zeglin, Robotics Consultants, Carnegie Mellon University.

Critical Art Ensemble is a collective of five artists of various specializations dedicated to exploring the intersections between art, technology, radical politics, and critical theory. Their books include: The Electronic Disturbance (1994); Electronic Civil Disobedience and Other Unpopular Ideas (2001); Flesh Machine (1998) and Digital Resistance: Explorations in Tactical Media (2001). Since 1996, biotech projects - the most recent of which is GenTerra – have been their central initiative.
 

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Kapelgraf Zero-G, Vadim Fishkin

Experiment with floating drops and installation, created for MIR Campaign 2003

Vadim Fishkin: "I remember the impression a black-and-white telecast from a Soviet space station made on me as a child. I recall the moment when a cosmonaut poured out water from a glass - the suspense and transformation of the water into amorphous shapes and different oblong drops captured my attention so much that I forgot about the people levitating around it.

Many years later, it all came back to me with a Stanislaw Lem novel. The story was about extraterrestrials from Venus who described our material civilization with accuracy, but failed to
recognize people as individuals and creators. Instead, they talked about particles of some strange, soft (liquid) mass, continuously separating into oblong drops. It remained for them a puzzling substance - a form retaining information - that they couldn't decipher.

The Kaplegrafs are devices that can translate data into the language of "water drops" and use water to convey meanings that transcend normal linguistic conventions. In normal gravity, the Kapelgraf translates a time-based substance (sound-voice) into a more substantial but still ephemeral substance (drops of water). In microgravity conditions, the drops remained in space, changing direction in mid-air according to the subtle variations in the balance of forces on the aircraft. The coloured drops were programmed to “visualise” sequences of Johann Strauss' Blue Danube while levitating around in elliptical paths.

Credits

Producer: DUM (Ljubljana)
Drop rhythm by Tomaz Grom
Special thanks to Bojan Vukovic for technical assistance
Commissioned by The Arts Catalyst and the MIR Consortium (Arts Catalyst, Projekt Atol, V2, Leonardo Olats, Multimedia Complex for Actual Arts)
Flight: MIR Campaign 2003
Funded by the European Commission Culture 2000 Fund and Arts Council England

Exhibition

MIR: Art in Variable Gravity, Cornerhouse, Manchester, UK (Arts Catalyst/MIR)

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Kefir grains are going onto the flight

Film and installation, commissioned by The Arts Catalyst and the MIR Consortium

 

Yuri Leiderman’s approach involves different stories and occurrences connected to his personal life experiences and obsessions, and transformed into a sophisticated system of visual signs and codes. 

 

Kefir grains are colonies of special bacteria that look like whitish lumps with a variety of individual bizarre (fractal) forms. Culturing kefir grains in milk, the grains are capable of growing and giving life to their ‘breed’. In this sense they can be regarded as living beings and a good embodiment of Tsiolkovsky's (1) ‘radiant shells of mind,’ that should spread generation by generation and eventually fill the Universe (glass of milk).

 

Yuri Leiderman's project consisted of 3 stages. In the 1st and preliminary stage, the artist grew kefir grains in Moscow to ’train’ them. He then selected the ‘healthiest’ samples and named them according to special rules.

 

After the series of experiments and examinations, he selected around hundred of the most worthy specimens; these were taken on board of a Russian space programme training plane and released into zero gravity. Their behaviour (soaring, destruction, accumulation, etc.) was documented for a film that represents the 3rd stage.

 

The resulting story is representative of many ‘Russian cosmism’ operations, such as Fedorov's (2) "catalogization and preservation" and Tsiolkovsky's "cosmic selection". In this case, all this happens with small, indifferent white lumps - as a metaphor of that movement's grandeur and disaster.

 

The installation comprised texts on the wall, a video work and objects.

 

Yuri Leiderman (born 1963 in Odessa) is a writer and an artist whose practice has been closely related to Moscow Conceptualism. In 1987, along with Sergei Anufreev and Pavel Pepperstein, he founded the Medical Hermeneutics group, which he left in 1990. His work has been shown at prominent venues, the 1st Manifesta in Rotterdam in 1996, the 11th Sydney Biennial in 1998, or the 50th Venice Biennial in 2003, among many others. In 1999 he held his first solo presentation “Circles and Lumps” in Slovenia at Galerija Škuc in Ljubljana.  Yuri Leiderman is currently participating in the 7 Sins. Ljubljana – Moscow Arteast exhibition at Moderna galerija / Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Ljubljana.

 

The exhibition has been made possible in collaboration with Ministry of Culture of Republic of Slovenia and MOL – Cultural Department of the City of Ljubljana. Special thanks to The Arts Catalyst, Yona Fischer, Andrei Silvestrov and Roman Uranjek.

 

(1) Konstantin Tsiolkovsky (1857 – 1935) theorised many aspects of human space travel and rocket propulsion decades before others, and played an important role in the development of the Soviet and Russian space programs.

(2) Nikolai Federov (1829 – 1903) believed that humanity was part of a vast teleological history, which would eventually see mankind evolve into super-beings, at which stage every human who had ever lived would be physically reincarnated.

 

Credits

Film made in collaboration with Andre Silvestrov

Commissioned by The Arts Catalyst and the MIR Consortium (Arts Catalyst, Projekt Atol, V2, Leonardo
Olats, Multimedia Complex for Actual Arts)

Flight: MIR Campaign 2003

 

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Celestial Vault

Utilising the vast TsF-18 centrifuge in Star City, Stefan Gec physically recorded the G-force exerted by the centrifuge on a celestial globe.

Globes have a long history of depicting the night sky, and historically celestial globes pre-date the terrestrial globe. Subsequent to their disuse as navigational tools they became collectible objects symbolising truth and knowledge. Gec's specially made sphere had the constellations of the Northern & Southern Hemisphere painted on its surface. The globe was positioned in the void normally occupied by the cosmonaut. Installed in the centrifuge, the hollow 12-inch copper globe was exposed to high G-loads (up to ten times normal gravity), causing it to be subtly deformed by the force exerted upon it. The resulting damage and distress caused by this process indelibly marks the globe’s surface, transforming it from its traditional form into something unique whose physical shape has been dictated by the centrifuge.

Celestial Vault is a response to a different time and movement where something - or someone - is projected into a physical state beyond our usual experiences. Through the use of a representation of space to illustrate this physical force, the work prompts a re-examination of our age-old fascination with the celestial sky.

Credits

Special thanks to Neal White for camera work on Centrifuge TsF-18

Commissioned by The Arts Catalyst and the MIR Consortium (Arts Catalyst, Projekt Atol, V2, Leonardo Olats, Multimedia Complex for Actual Arts)
MIR Campaign 2003

Exhibitions

MIR: Art in Variable Gravity, Cornerhouse, Manchester, UK (Arts Catalyst)

MIR: Dreams of Space, Stills, Edinburgh, UK (Arts Catalyst)

Artists Airshow, Royal Aeronautical Engineering Workshops, Farnborough, UK (Arts Catalyst)

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