Oliver Angere, ESA Human Spaceflight Director
The topical team Space Art “arts and science – TRANSFER of scientific aspects into the arts” will investigate the possibilities of the arts as a powerful media to communicate scientific research as a cultural reflection on current and planned space activities.
Artists, theorists and curators are invited to brainstorm with feed-back from ESA experts during a three-day-workshop held at the European Astronaut Centre in Cologne (June 2011) about new ideas for future art projects in collaboration with the scientific space community. Five space activity areas are under closer inspection: Robotic exploration/science missions, the International Space Station, future human space exploration, environmental Earth observation, and topics of space flight technology and spin-offs. Most research areas are highly specialised and it is difficult to connect the own findings to others, from other areas for continuous and especially for innovative research approaches. Art is one way of creating a new whole and thus inspire scientists. Further, artists can help avoiding the classic isolation of research institutions and organisations from society and they can influence through interaction, what we shall research. Research themes are a political decisions today not only a scientific ones.
The goal is the transfer of scientific aspects into the arts. The chosen conceptual themes should emphasize the cultural layer of space technology, missions and exploration adding to the overlying premise of technologic, scientific and military goals.
The outcome of the team’s meeting shall be ideas and concepts for science-to-art projects. With feed-back from the agency a final report describing the topic and presenting the team’s ideas will be accumulated. Comments by the theorists and curators on the theme in general will be part of the output as well as the descriptions for future art or communication projects. This shall serve ESA’s discussion process for new tenders.
To expand the human aspects of space exploration through cultural engagement with ESA initiatives, in order to enhance a sense of public ownership and participation; and build professional communities for knowledge transfer and new discovery. This objective recognises the cultural dimension of all space exploration whether performed on earth or in space, by humans or automated techniques. For maximum effect, cross-pollination must happen in both directions between the arts/cultural and science/technology communities and institutions.
As summarized in our report, the Arts & Science Topical Team comprised of an international group of artists, theorists, curators and scientists, that met to develop concepts, strategies, and tools to this effect. The team recommends that this be done through the creation of an ESA Art Initiative that enables artists and scientists to engage and develop collaborations leading to research and/or cultural production and innovations...