International Symposium of Electronic Arts (2013): Sydney AU

Artist(s) in Space Panel

Sarah Jane Pell (Chair), Kerrie Dougherty, Zina Kaye, Barbara Imhof and Angelo Vermulen.


Current private space activities are influencing attitudes towards the issues of art(ist)s in space. We explore the critical pathways, discourse and cultural practice surrounding space to explore how it manifests in our works of art, and our art of working. We exchange prior art, activities, and aesthetics resulting from interactions with space assets. We examine practical, political and romantic art(ist)s in space. To exhibit our design tactics for engaging space phenomena, trajectories for enabling new discoveries and bringing them to audiences. Finally, we build on the significant prior art, to contribute a transdisciplinary response to this emerging frontier.

Topic: Why should we care about space art? Presenter: Kerrie Dougherty

Doughery frames her research with a tactical question: ‘Why should we care about Space Art?’ thus provoking us to connect the history of arts inspired by the cosmos and human space activities with contemporary interpretation and engagement. A Curator of Space Technology at the Powerhouse Museum, Dougherty's presentation traversed genres including cutting-edge space fashion to rock music, cave art to science fiction, space hardware to moments of seeing astronauts as artists in space. ‘Our awe and wonder at the heavens and the desire to reach for the stars have, for millennia, been expressed in art, myth, dance, music, literature, architecture. Today, when space exploration is a reality and telescopes reveal the mysteries of the cosmos, space artists continue to feed our souls by expressing an emotional response to the beauty of the universe and the challenges of space travel’.

Topic: Shifting [Space] Perspectives. Panelist: Dr. Barbara Imhof (EU)

‘Shifting [Space] Perspectives’ introduces us to Imhof's trans-disciplinary approach methodology and three case studies. The ETTAS ESA Arts Initiative shows the potentials and challenges of these collaborations and through the first project between Christian Waldvogel, ETTAS artist and Dr. Jack Van Loon of ESA: Cosmos Ex Machina: A memorial for Nolano (Giordano Bruno). The co-founder and CEO of LIQUIFER Systems Group, Imhof is currently leading projects of applied research in the field of bionics, spaceflight, robotics and architecture including the EU FP7 project SHEE Self-deployable Habitat for Extreme Environments, a prototype design for Moon and Mars, and terrestrial extremes such as disaster areas. Imhof’s final case study: a biomimetic project: called GrAB–Growing As Building and the recent book poses a question to GrAB and the predecessor project Biornametics: “What is the architect doing in the jungle?" Architects, artists, biologists and physicists work together to find good architectural solutions from abstraction of good design from nature. Finding innovative answers in integrating outside views may propel our capability to deal with our complex world and will shift our perspective.

Topic: Art-Science in Space. Panelist: Dr. Angelo Vermuelen (HI-SEAS)

‘Art-Science in Space’ proposes that in a situation where the worlds of science and the worlds of art are influencing each other, new worlds are created. Vermuelen is a visual artist, biologist, space scientist, community organizer, and author. In 2011 his space-related work led him to start a new PhD at Delft University of Technology and in 2012; he was appointed Crew Commander of the inaugural HI-SEAS mission. Vermuelen delivered a video Message from HI-SEAS to ISEA2013 Sydney [3:00] filmed in-situ during the 4-month Mars mission simulation on the Mauna Loa volcano in Hawaii. “It’s specifically this combination of art and science that got me here as the crew commander of the HI-SEAS mission. HI-SEAS stands for Hawaii Space Exploration Analogue and Simulation. It’s a NASA-funded mission, and the first of a series of missions that will last at least three years.” ‘Art-Science in Space’ reconfirms that the combination of art, science and community building can actively contribute to space exploration.

Topic: Space Junk. Panelist: Zina Kaye (AU)

Kaye’s passion for re-examining space junk, communication and re-appropriating spaces for new inquiry, led her to a residency at the Ventspils International Radio Astronomy Centerin Latvia, with fellow collaborators from the Xchange Network collective in 2001. There Kaye and Mr. Snow produced ‘Firmament’ which consists of an audio-visual display created with the help of a Java application. It uses data from signals emitted by cosmic bodies (the Sun and Jupiter) and gathered by the radio telescope. She reviewed this experience in the context of Brenda Dervin’s framework for ‘sensemaking’. Kaye contrasts her work during the Ventspils residency in the context of a current public artwork that she is collaborating on. She presents a visualization of her solar weather project ‘Strangely Magnetic’. She concludes with a vision for an Australian space art response that provides a local intra-professional context for problem solving.

Topic: Towards an Australian Space-Arts policy. Chair: Dr. Sarah Jane Pell

Pell notes an opportunity to reference a rich and varied history of artists working with satellite utilisation, human space flight, exploration, and other space-related research from the lab to the sea, for the purpose of inspiring, provoking and leading open discussions about art(ist)s in space. She cites hybrid art works by Agnes Meyer Brandis and the art-architecture-science biological habitat series from underwater to outer space by Zbignew Oksiuta to situate her own immersion in other worlds. Pell herself established the Aquabatics Research Team initiative to uniquely combine live art with commercial diving: a space analogue highlighting that human performance is still a challenge in extreme and altered-gravity conditions. She recommends the arts as another and vital means of reflecting Australia’s 2011 Principals for a National Industry Space Policy and calls for an Australian Space-Arts policy by 2015.

VoxPop: Is it too soon for an Interplanetary Symposium of Electronic Arts?

Art(ist)s in Space Panel - Vox Pop, ISEA 2013
Dr. Alice Gorman

Art(ist)s in Space Panel - Vox Pop, ISEA 2013
Dr. Angelo Vermeulen

Art(ist)s in Space Panel - Video, ISEA 2013
Dr. Sarah Pell

Art(ist)s in Space Panel - Vox Pop, ISEA 2013
Dr. Dennis Wingo

Art(ist)s in Space Panel - Vox Pop, ISEA 2013
Michael Brett, Lucy McRae, David Hocking

Art(ist)s in Space Panel - Vox Pop, ISEA 2013
Empress Stah [Contains mild nudity.]

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Papers from this panel were NOT ACCEPTED for the ISEA 2013 Conference Proceedings in Sydney AU.