MIR Campaign 2003

Photograph of Ewen Chardronnet floating with a sign which states "See You In Space".
Ewen Chardronnet, MIR, See You in Space, 2003.
Antnez wears an exoskeletal body interface whilst floating.
Marcel.li Antunez Roca, MIR, Project Daedalus, 2003
Russian uniformed officials stand in front of a Zero Gravity aircraft.
MIR Campaign 2003, Star City, Russia
Celestial Globe in foreground, projection of a spacecraft in the background.
Stefan Gec, MIR, Celestial Vault, 2003
A large glass orb filled with an electrical circuit designed to experiment with floating drops.
Vadim Fishkin, MIR, Kapelgraf Zero-G, 2003

The MIR partnership invited proposals from European and Europe-based artists and scientists to undertake projects/research in variable gravity conditions on a parabolic flights or using other facilities, such as the centrifuge and the hydrolaboratory facility used for EVA training, at the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Centre (GCTC), Star City, Russia. From the call, we received nearly 100 proposals from artists and scientists all over Europe and selected the following projects, which were undertaken during a working visit to Star City in April 2003:

Marcelli Antunez Roca (Spain) - micro-performances, taking place during the parabolic flight. The formal development of the actions use the body, an exoskeleton, a system of computers, and robots. Roca develops and works with orthopaedic mechanisms that are used for controlling the body and expanding the body's possibilities.

Vadim Fishkin (Russia/Slovenia) - variable gravity project using the kapelgraf device, which can translate data originating from various sources into the drops of fluid language. In normal gravity, the kapelgraf translates a time-based substance (sound-voice) into a more substantial, but still ephemeral substance (drops of water). In zero gravity, the drops remain floating in space.

Kodwo Eshun, Richard Cousins & Anjali Sagar (UK) - The essay film Otolith will draw on the traditions of Russian utopianism, European reverse anthropology and Indian modernism.

Ewen Chardronnet (France) - Media artist and founder member of the Association of Autonomous astronauts. Author of 'Quitte Le Gravite'.

Yuri Leiderman (Russia) - Kefir grains, colonies of special bacteria, can be regarded a good embodiment for Tsyolkovsky's "radiant shells of mind". Leiderman grew kefir grains, "trained" them, selected most "healthy" samples and named them. Selected grains set off for the aircraft to experience variable gravity.

Rebecca Forth (UK) - scientific research project into the respiratory and cardiovascular effects of clarinet playing in zero G. Rebecca is head of aviation medicine at the Centre for Space and Aviation Medicine at UCL.

Stefan Gec (UK) - a work physically recording the G-load exerted by the centrifuge onto a celestial globe. The globe to be positioned in the void normally occupied by the cosmonaut. Once installed into the centrifuge, the hollow globe will beslowly exposed to a significant G-load, causing it to be deformed by thepowerful force exerted upon it.

i-DAT (UK) - The Institute of Digital of Art & Technology design a prototype for a self-orientating robot called Columbia: Monument to Lost Astronauts


Work resulting from these projects is being presented to the public at the following and other venues:

MIR @ V2: V2, Rotterdam, Netherlands 27th July 2003

Extremophiles Conference: Royal Institution, London, UK 19 September 2003.

Art in Zero G symposium: Paris 4 - 5 October 2003

MIR - Art in Variable Gravity: Cornerhouse, Manchester 8 November - 14 December 2003



Yuri Leiderman is an artist and writer from Odessa, Ukraine and graduated from the Moscow Institute of Chemical Technology in 1987. Leiderman now lives and works in Berlin. In 2003, Yuri Leiderman was part of The Arts Catalyst's event “MIR – Art in Variable Gravity”, held at The Cornerhouse in Manchester. Leiderman was part of the panel discussion “Unknown Territories” which confronted concepts and ideas about space exploration. Yuri was also part of the “MIR Campaign 2003” in Star City, Russia where he demonstrated his project on Kefir grains. The artist grew Kefir grains, “trained” them and then selected the most “healthy” samples to set off on a zero-gravity space flight. This project was filmed and entitled “Kefir Grains Are Going Onto The Flight”. This film was included in the 2005 film “Gravitation Off” and was screened at the “MIR – Dreams of Space” event. Yuri's project was also documented in the “Zero-Gravity: A Cultural Users Guide” publication.

The Otolith Group was founded in 2002 and consists of London based Anjalika Sagar and Kodwo Eshun. The Group have drawn from a wide range of resources and materials to explore the moving image, the archive, the sonic and the aural within the gallery context. The research based work has focused on the essay film as a form that seeks to look at conditions, events and histories in their most expanded form. This work acts as a resource that is documented on The Group’s website and supports The Otolith Group's public platform – The Otolith Collective.

For over 20 years, Neal White has critically explored art in relation to new ideas, forms and technologies. As part of numerous collaborative endeavours – he has been developing projects, research and artworks, publications, archives, fieldworks, critical excursions as bus tours and exhibitions with academics, architects and activists. His current work explores situated practices and knowledge - drawing together environmental and ecological matters of concern with marine biologists, ecologists, coders, architects and volunteers in Poole Harbour and Brownsea Island, Dorset for Arts Catalyst's Test Sites programme.


Funders and Thanks

Funded by a European Commission Culture 2000 award.

MIR (Microgravity Interdisciplinary Research) is a consortium of European based arts organisations, Arts Catalyst, V2, Projekt Atol and Leonardo-Olats, which was founded in 2001 to promote interdisciplinary and art/science research in microgravity and altered gravity conditions. Two campaigns, with a total of three parabolic flights and a centrifuge experiment were organised within the MIR framework in Zvezdny Gorodok (Star City), Russia

With thanks to the Zero G team at the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Centre