KOSMICA June 2011

Continuing the monthly series of social galactic gatherings to bring together those interested in sharing cultural ideas about space with Alicia Framis, Dr Jill Stuart, Julijonas Urbonas and Jem Finer.

A Matter of Gravity

The moon life foundation - Alicia Framis

Director of Moon Life Foundation, Alicia Framis speculates on the possibility that humans will live in space in the future. The project acts as a stimulus for artists, designers, architects to create futuristic radical political but humane concepts for an extreme lunar environment.

Alicia Framis is also the Lost Astronaut – an performance-installation at APF LAB, exploring the potentialities of living on the moon through the ironical activities and fictional character of a woman astronaut. Left on earth like all women who were never part of the moon race, she settles in to BaseCamp, in which she lived for the two weeks in a customized astronaut suit, among drawings and prototypes that aim to both parody and demand women’s presence on the moon.

Alicia Framis studied Fine Arts at the Barcelona University and Ecole de Beaux Arts in Paris. She completed her masters at the Institut d’Hautes Etudes, Paris and at the Rijksakademie Van Beelde Kunstende, Amsterdam. 

Who Owns Outer Space? - Dr Jill Stuart

While the 'Martians Chronicles' might soon become real facts, Dr Jill Stuart will be discussing with us the ownership of space, so that we know where to land! She will explain us the history of cosmic governance and the future of outer space law.

Dr Jill Stuart is Fellow in Global Politics at the London School of Economics, and reviews editor for the journal Global Policy. She researches law, politics and theory of outer space exploration and exploitation. Her interests extend to the way terrestrial politics and conceptualisations such as sovereignty are projected into outer space, and how outer space potentially plays a role in reconstituting how those politics and conceptualisations are understood in terrestrial politics.

On observatories and observing - Jem Finer

Come along and meet with one of our space genies, Jem Finer who experienced zero gravity and realized a 1000-year long musical composition (Longplayer), as well as being artist in residence in the astrophysics department at Oxford University making a number of works including two sculptural observatories, Landscope and The Centre of the Universe.

The 'Gravitational Theater'- Julijonas Urbonas

Julijonas talked about unique aesthetic manifestations of gravity in our highly technologised culture, from anti-gravitational shoes to deadly roller coasters.

Having worked in amusement park development – as an architect, ride designer and head of fairground – Urbonas became fascinated by what he calls the bodily-perceived aesthetics of ‘gravitational theatre’. Since then the topic has been at the core of his creative life, from artistic work to scholarly articles. Most recently this interest has matured into his PhD research based in the department of Design Interactions at the RCA.

Partners

The series is programmed by Nelly Ben Hayoun and Nahum Mantra.

KOSMICA is endorsed by ITACCUS, the International Astronautical Federation's Committee on the Cultural Utilisation of Space. 

Artists' websites

Julijonas Urbonas - http://www.julijonasurbonas.lt

Dr Jill Stuart - lse.ac.uk, www.globalpolicyjournal.com

Jem Finer - www.cosmolog.org.uk, www.onearthasinheaven.net, longplayer.org

Alicia Framis - http://moon-life.org/, www.aliciaframis.com

 

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KOSMICA July 2011

Carey Young, Ansuman Biswas, and Empress Stah take the floor for Kosmica, the monthly series of social galactic gatherings to bring together those interested in sharing cultural ideas about space.

Each Kosmica session is unique: bringing together the cosmically curious and culturally quirky space community for a social mix of art–space programmes - a film screening, performance or live concert with a short presentation, talk and debate about alternative and cultural uses of space.

Wednesday 13 July

Carey Young discussed her recent artistic works which critique and satirise the ‘management’ and legal control of outer space. Using recent discoveries in astrophysics and space imaging, as well as creating new propositions in copyright law, her works use cameraless photography, installation, text and sculpture to investigate links between outer space law and ideas of landscape, colonialism and the ‘real’. Young has exhibited widely including recent solo shows at The Power Plant, Toronto (2009), Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis (2009), Paula Cooper Gallery, New York (2010) and the touring solo show Memento Park.  She is represented by Paula Cooper Gallery, New York. Her touring solo show Memento Park is at mima, Middlesbrough.

Empress Stah is a London based aerial artist and avant garde cabaret performer with a life long ambition to make a show in Outer Space. Stah recently came one step closer to realising this dream when she experienced microgravity for the first time, aboard a commercial flight with the Zero G Corporation.  She will be presenting footage taken aboard this flight and will talk about the thinking behind her ACE funded research and development project 'Stah-Lite in Space'; what she intends to do in Zero G when she gets her hands on the Russian's plane; and will outline her vision for  'Stah-Lite and the Stah Whores Corporation', which is a new show that has been commissioned for The Spill Festival 2012/13.

Ansuman Biswas was born in Calcutta and trained in the UK. He has an international practice encompassing music, film, live art, installation, writing and theatre. He is interested in hybridity and interdisciplinarity – often working between science, art and industry, for instance, or between music, dance and visual art.  His central concern lies between science, work and religion. For the last decade he has been working on Zero Genie projects in collaboration with Jem Finer, who appeared in June's Kosmica. He is a Trustee of The Arts Catalyst. Zero Genie was conceived as a response to the structure and history of the space program over the last 50 years. For millennia people have been travelling to the most remote regions of the cosmos using shamanistic technologies. Can we deride their experiences as being any less valid, any less real, than those of modern astronauts and cosmonauts? Who is to arbitrate on claims of yogic levitation, or persistent conspiracy theories suggesting that the American moon landings were actually a hoax constructed in a film studio? Judgements of fantasy and reality are conditioned by relationships of power. The vast expanse of space is a political territory, colonised so far by the industrialized, affluent powers. Its exploration is a First World, high investment pursuit, beyond the orbit of all but the whitest, richest individuals.

Partners

The Kosmica series is programmed by Nahum Mantra and is endorsed by ITACCUS, the International Astronautical Federation's Committee on the Cultural Utilisation of Space. 

Artists' websites

Carey Young, Empress Stah, Ansuman Biswas

 

 

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KOSMICA March 2011

A monthly series of social galactic gatherings to bring together those interested in sharing cultural ideas about space

Every KOSMICA session will be unique: bringing together the cosmically curious and culturally quirky space community. Monthly KOSMICA evenings will bring together a social mix of art–space programmes - a film screening, performance or live concert with a short presentation, talk and debate about alternative and cultural uses of space.

Agnes Meyer-Brandis whose lecture performance deals with art, science and weightlessness. Her starting point is an artistic project conducted under weightless conditions, entitled Cloud-Core-Scanner, involving a microgravity-generating flying manoeuvre carried out in collaboration with the DLR (German Aerospace Centre) in which she explores the boundaries separating fact and fiction, fantasy and technology.

We Colonised the Moon (Hagen Betzwieser and Sue Corke) explores an idiosyncratic world view based on popular science, flexible wikipedia knowledge, graphical illustrations and various display formates. Hagen Betzwieser will talk about his experience in The Institute of General Theory and Sue Corke will describe their projects Moon Scratch and Sniff and Lost in Space.

And a one-to-one performative encounter, Tinned Fingers take you into space. A short encounter for audience members (one at a time) that combines film, music and performance to give an experience of space travel in DIY style.

Partners

The series is programmed by Nahum Mantra.

KOSMICA is endorsed by ITACCUS, the International Astronautical Federation's Committee on the Cultural Utilisation of Space.

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Alternative Ways of Thinking

Two events organised by The Arts Catalyst and Shape, as part of The Times Cheltenham Science Festival, reflected on recent ideas about the minds of autistic and dyslexia people, and consider whether these ‘impairments’ can or should be thought about in a different way.

Exploring the Autistic Mind

The media frequently feature stories about screening for or even ‘curing’ autism, presenting it as an affliction or disease. But people with autism can become excellent scientists and engineers or excel in art and music. This discussion event considered recent ideas about the minds of autistic people: how they think, learn and experience the world.
Kathy Sykes, Professor of Sciences and Society at the University of Bristol, chaired a discussion on creativity and the autistic mind with Simon Baron-Cohen, Director of the Autism Research Centre, artist and geologist, Jon Adams, who has Asperger’s Syndrome, and Gabriel Hardistry-Miller, a non-verbal man with autism who, with artist Ben Connors, runs a music, performance and poetry club called Pig Pen. Together they will consider whether these so called ‘impairments’ should be thought of in a different way.

3D Thinkers in a 2D World, Benedict Phillips

The ability to think in a 3-dimensional, multi-sensory way is a talent that dyslexic people share, but 2-dimensional symbols and words can cause them problems and confusion. In a humorous and thought-provoking performance, artist Benedict Phillips unleashes his dyslexic side as ‘The DIV’ highlighting and examining our presumptions about intelligence, communication and perception, unravelling the numerous misconceptions surrounding dyslexia and presenting the unusual advantages it brings. ‘Everyone can be Dislecksick; you just need to try harder’.

Partners

Presented by The Arts Catalyst and Shape in partnership with The Times Cheltenham Science Festival

Artists websites

Jon Adams, Benedict Phillips, Pig Pen (Gabriel Hardistry-Miller & Ben Connors)

Funder

Funded by a Wellcome Trust People Award and Arts Council England

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Nuclear Forum

Accompanying the Nuclear: Art & Radioactivity exhibition, the Nuclear Forum was organised by Arts Catalyst and SCAN in partnership with RSA Arts & Ecology.

The forum explored the impact of nuclear power in art and culture. Prominent artists, writers and experts discuss their work and engagement with the issues around nuclear energy, from Hiroshima through the 50s' white heat of technology and the Cold War nuclear tensions to present day energy debates.
 

Speakers:

James Acord, artist and 'nuclear sculptor'
Keith Barnham (Imperial College)
Paul Dorfman (Warwick University), expert on nuclear consultation and radioactivity risks,
Kate Hudson (LSBU), chair of CND and editor of the journal Contemporary Politics
Kyp Kyprianou & Simon Hollington, artists
Steve Kurtz, artist and activist, Critical Art Ensemble (by video link)
Gustav Metzger, artist and activist, founder of Auto-Destructive Art
Chris Oakley, artist
Pam Skelton, artist (Central St Martins College of Art)
John Wills (Kent University), historian, author of Conservation Fallout, a look at nuclear protest in California

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KOSMICA June 2012

Our monthly series of social galactic gatherings bringing together those interested in sharing cultural ideas about space.

KOSMICA - the Microgravity Sessions featured speakers who have floated in the air in zero gravity. We can guarantee that all participants have undergone at least 10 parabolas in a diving aircraft! Previously a resource solely available to trainee astronauts and scientists, pioneers Kitsou Dubois and Dragan Zivadinov opened the way in the 90s to artists flying in microgravity, and following a flight by The Arts Catalyst's curator Rob La Frenais with Zivadinov in 1999, over 50 artists and scientists flew in The Arts Catalyst's microgravity campaigns in Star City, Russia.

The evening was introduced by Nicola Triscott and Rob La Frenais, director and curator of The Arts Catalyst who have both enjoyed flying in Zero G in their own special ways... which is documented  in Gravitation Off.

Kevin Fong medical doctor, researcher in Space Medicine and Extreme Environments and presenter of the BBC's To Boldly Go

Louise K. Wilson, who researched motion sickness in Star City and whose work was recently featured a Tate publication.

Lyn Hagen, who, with flight director and artist Marko Peljhan, organised the most recent artists' flight at Star City.

Support

The KOSMICA series is curated by Nahum Mantra and The Arts Catalyst, and is endorsed by ITACCUS, the International Astronautical Federation's Committee on the Cultural Utilisation of Space.

The event will be held on the first floor and there is no lift; please contact The Arts Catalyst to discuss any specific access needs.

The KOSMICA series is curated by Nahum Mantra and The Arts Catalyst, and is endorsed by ITACCUS, the International Astronautical Federation's Committee on the Cultural Utilisation of Space.

Speakers' websites

Louise K Wilson

Flow Motion (Edward George and Anna Piva)

Lyn Hagen

Kevin Fong

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James Acord: A Life in the Nuclear Age "You Can't Make This Shit Up"

A tribute to James Acord, the nuclear scupltor

James Acord was the only private individual in the world licensed to own and handle radioactive materials. He is likely to remain so since the authorities closed the loopholes after he achieved his license. His work was a story of a 20-year performance, a cat and mouse game with the nuclear regulatory authorities, in which he pursued his dream of converting highly radioactive waste into inert metal for use in art. Along the way, he created sculpture and events that probed the history of nuclear engineering, often incorporating radioactive materials. His astonishing story shines light on the secrecy and security with which society cloaks the nuclear industry.

The evening will include an exhibit of work by James Acord, stories of his work, film clips, photos, and a reading from 'The Book of Ash', a novel based on Acord's life, by the author James Flint.

James Acord was a master storyteller, and we will also have an 'open mic' session, so that those of you who knew Jim can contribute your stories of him, or re-tell stories that he told you.

James Acord, the “nuclear sculptor”, passed away on the 8 January 2011. The Arts Catalyst worked closely with Acord over many years. We invite you to join us at this event to remember and celebrate his life and work.

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KOSMICA April 2011 - Yuri's Night

KOSMICA - Yuri Gagarin Night, celebrating 50 years of human spaceflight

Part of our series of galactic gatherings for earth-bound artists, space engineers, performers, astronomers, musicians and anyone interested in exploring and sharing space in original ways, the programme on this very special night included:

First Orbit - World Premiere of Christopher Riley's film (100mins)

In a unique collaboration with the European Space Agency, and the Expedition 26/27 crew of the International Space Station, filmmaker Christopher Riley created a new film of what Gagarin first witnessed fifty years ago. By matching the orbital path of the Space Station, as closely as possible, to that of Gagarin's Vostok 1 spaceship and filming the same vistas of the Earth through the new giant cupola window, astronaut Paolo Nespoli, and Christopher Riley, have captured a new digital high definition view of the Earth below, half a century after Gagarin first witnessed it. Weaving these new views together with historic, recordings of Gagarin from the time, (subtitled in Englsih) and an original score by composer Philip Sheppard, they created a spellbinding film to share with people around the world on this historic anniversary.
http://www.firstorbit.org

"Poyekhali" (Lets Go!) - Performance reading by Nick Edwards

To celebrate the 50th anniversary of Gagarin's heroic flight, Nick Edwards will present a reading of the transcript of Gagarin’s conversation with ground control and the tape recording he made whilst in orbit. Using the original audio recording of Gagarin’s conversation with ground control and a transcript of the tape recording he made whilst in orbit, Nick Edwards will present a reading in real time of Gagarin’s historic first flight. `
www.poyekhali.net
www.nedwards.net

Dubmorphology - Live music by Trevor Mathison and Gary Stewart

Trevor Mathison is an artist primarily working with audio and digital media. He visited the Yuri Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Centre at Star City, Moscow with The Arts Catalyst. He was a member of the noted artistic collective The Black Audio Film Collective and is currently part of Smoking Dogs. As 'Dubmorphology' he is teaming up with media artist Gary Stewart to present a short audio and visual  tribute to the first man in space.

Support

KOSMICA series is programmed by Nahum Mantra.

KOSMICA is endorsed by ITACCUS, the International Astronautical Federation's Committee on the Cultural Utilisation of Space.

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Beatriz da Costa in conversation

A discussion about the installation which confronts visitors with the reality of British species threatened with extinction.

The Los Angeles-based artist Beatriz da Costa talks about creating A Memorial for the Still Living, with Rikke Hansen, host of Nature Calls: Animals in Visual Culture on Resonance 104.4 FM, London's arts radio station.

The installation, A Memorial for the Still Living, curated by The Arts Catalyst and John Hansard Gallery, was recently displayed at the Horniman Museum, London.

Beatriz da Costa  will discuss the inspiration and processes involved in creating the installation which confronts visitors with the reality of British species threatened with extinction, and how it relates to her other projects which explore the biopolitics of endangered species. She will also describe her latest participatory mobile and social media initiative - www.4thestillliving.net

The exhibition

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.

www.4thestillliving.net

To coincide with the exhibition, da Costa has released the Endangered Species Finder, a mobile application that helps you to locate, identify, and submit sightings of endangered species in the UK.

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

Weblinks

Beatriz da Costa, John Hansard Gallery, Rikke Hansen, Horniman Museum

Related articles and events

A Memorial for the Still Living, Beatriz da Costa

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KOSMICA February 2011

A new series of galactic gatherings for earth-bound artists, space engineers, performers, astronomers, musicians and anyone interested in exploring and sharing space in original ways.

Every KOSMICA session is unique: bringing together the cosmically curious and culturally quirky space community. Monthly KOSMICA evenings bring together a social mix of art–space programmes - a film screening, performance or live concert with a short presentation, talk and debate about alternative and cultural uses of space.

Thursday 17 February 2011

‘Extended Mission Isolation and the Mind’, Regina Peldszus asks - how will we actually live in space?
Regina Peldszus’s work in space architecture and design explores the psychological challenges of isolation and monotony of space crew on extended exploration missions. And concerns human-technology-nature interaction in extreme environments, off-duty and medical design aspects in space and their spin-offs. She is based at the Design Research Centre and the Astronautics & Space Systems Group, Kingston University London.

‘Surreal Interactions’, Nelly Ben Hayoun and Professor David Lee Wark, proposes how we could embed creativity in our daily lives. With creations like The Soyuz Chair, RCA Design Interactions MA graduate, Nelly explores the possibilities of space tourism, weightlessness and the thrill of the unknown.  Professor David Wark is an internationally renowned authority on neutrino physics and is distinguished for his work on a series of groundbreaking neutrino experiments, including SAGE the solar neutrino experiment.

‘Sounds of the Stars’ – Live music performance by Nimble Fish and digital artist Tim Blazdell with pop-up multi-media installation incorporating cosmic recordings. Tonight’s performance includes a star projector and a mix of star and stellar body recordings from radio telescopes around the world, including signals from the globular cluster 47 Tuc. 

Partners

The series is programmed by Nahum Mantra. It is endorsed by ITACCUS, the International Astronautical Federation's Committee on the Cultural Utilisation of Space

Website links

Regina Peldszus www.spaceflightdesign.org
Nelly Ben Hayoun www.nellyben.com

Professor David Lee Wark
www.superksonic.com

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