International Astronautical Congress IAC (2016): Guadalajara MX

Homo Ludens: an analysis of play and performance during spaceflight to inspire the cultural sector to design for new modes of space and spatiality.

Sarah Jane Pell & Florian 'Floyd' Mueller


We recognise Astronauts as unique Homo Ludens and initiate the first taxonomy of the kinds of play and performance that has occurred in space. Expanding David Harvey’s matrix that relates space (absolute, relative, relational) to Henri Lefebvre’s tripartite spatial definition (experienced, conceptualised, lived spaces), we construct an initial understanding of interactions in space and spatiality terms and add the relational qualities of play and performance over spaceflight time (pre-flight, in-flight, post-flight). We use this to test our hypotheses that play and performance along gravity-shift nodes of the spaceflight trajectory help frame three commonly reported Astronautical phenomena. We deduce that spatiotemporal perceptions of the microgravity body are recognizably ruptured (Augenblick), then experienced in relation to the universe (Overview Effect) to reside with the individual as a lived experience (Bodily Memory). By analysing the play and performance of Astronauts pre-flight, in-flight and post-flight we hope to inspire designers to search for clues about how we inhabit, navigate and design in space. We can then recall these phenomena from bodily memory to inform the design of material play and representational performance experiences. This paper contributes a new way to conceptualise the nature of play and performance as a technology to design opportunities for bodily play during spaceflight as an adaptive strategy in space habitation.

This paper (IAC-16,E1,9,1,x34892) was presented to the 67th IAC in Guadalajara, MX. SPACE EDUCATION AND OUTREACH SYMPOSIUM (E1) Space Culture – Public Engagement in Space through Culture (9)

Copyright 2016 by International Astronautical Federation. All rights reserved.

Slide 1 Homo Ludens IAC-16,E1,9,1,x34892 Pell & Mueller Slide 2 Homo Ludens IAC-16,E1,9,1,x34892 Pell & Mueller Slide 8 Homo Ludens IAC-16,E1,9,1,x34892 Pell & Mueller Slide 10 Homo Ludens IAC-16,E1,9,1,x34892 Pell & Mueller Slide 4 Homo Ludens IAC-16,E1,9,1,x34892 Pell & Mueller Slide 3 Homo Ludens IAC-16,E1,9,1,x34892 Pell & Mueller

“Astronaut 2.0”: Connecting the physical and social perceptions on human identity, form and function in space to define the parameters of space faring individuals.

Sara Langston & Sarah Jane Pell


This paper and presentation follows up on discussions started by the authors in their IAC 2014 paper: “What is in a name? Perceived identity, classification, philosophy, and implied duty of the ‘astronaut’.” Building on this foundation we continue the conversation beyond the origins and implications of defining an ‘astronaut’ and further lead the discussion on questions, perspectives and even controversies encompassing the prospective space roles for the new commercial space age. The significance of this discussion, as demonstrated in our previous research, is that public and political conceptions and perceptions of what identifies a person as an ‘astronaut’ both informs and impacts human communications, societal expectations and actions in regard to that identity. In addition to a paper, this presentation will engage a multimodal and multidimensional format to synthesize and illustrate the intrinsically interconnected web of issues and topics at play here. Specifically, through an original and creative presentation we will connect the dots and highlight the intricate ecosystem of relevant physical, social and political questions and factors with regard to an ‘astronaut’s’ identity and provide a comprehensive framework of the actors, approaches, linguistics and implications involved. These issues may include: 1) Distinguishing nongovernmental from governmental astronauts, commercial crew from spaceflight participants, and permanent versus transitory actors in space. 2) Distinguishing human astronauts from nonhumans - such as robotic envoys, artificial intelligence, other animals, and potential “Chewbacca’s” (non-terrestrial space farers); distinguishing the human astronaut from technological artifacts (spacesuit/spacecraft). 3) Evaluating notions of ‘transhumanism’ for spaceflight: adapting and/or enhancing humans for space - the range of medical implications here can range from minimal physiological intervention to science fiction. 4) Identifying the moral values and policy frameworks triggered by these actual/prospective human space activities. The ultimate objective of this paper and presentation is to create an open space for dialogue and to foster an informed and multidisciplinary conversation on humanity’s identity, form and function in space, today and in the future.

This paper (IAC-16,B3,9-GTS.2,6,x34820) was withdrawn from the 67th IAC in Guadalajara, MX. HUMAN SPACEFLIGHT SYMPOSIUM (B3) Human Spaceflight Global Technical Session (9-GTS.2.)
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