Blog entry

Q: have you thought that aliens might be machines? A: we do take that seriously.

I’m not too sure where to begin with this one. Let’s start where I am now - observing a highlight lecture on the Dynamics of Climate Change delivered at the International Astronautical Congress. It takes place in an auditorium that holds around 3,000 people. Approximately 300 people are present, based on my precise mathematical method of looking around. Part of the lecture, given by the National Centre for Earth Observation explained the value of being able to observe Earth from outer space. Oh, that’s interesting. So, we need to do what his organization happens to get paid for. Not necessarily troublesome, but useful to point out that the ideas we’re being sold are the ones that our speaker gets paid to address. He’d probably like a bit more money to do it as well. Fine.

The presentation also articulated the absence of a skill base to adequately understand and address some of the more pressing challenges we face due to climate change. So, there also needs to be a long term investment into the skill base that would boost the work of the NCEO. Right, but, for want of a better phrae, ‘he had me at hello’. I’m signed up. The practices of environmental care are morally preferable to the practices of reckless excess. That’s good enough for me and he even said we can close the Ozone hole, if we behave. All good and I don’t really mean to appear dismissive. It’s just that a lot of these meetings clearly engage undisclosed financial and political interests and we need to take that on board.

I’m getting side-tracked. This is a posting about the conference on Outer Space. I entered this room after having just finished listening to a series of artist presentations, which articulated their own engagements with outer space.  It’s really the highlight of my academic year, so far – and it’s got fierce competition, not least the Beijing Olympics. It’s just the sheer range of ideas and issues that have inspired me. That always has the edge. The exhibitors’ hall is a marvel in itself, and I’ve been to some good exhibitors’ halls. This really leaves the others standing. Best free toy: a pen that lights up (better than it sounds).

The real motivation for being here and what I take from it is that space exploration engages us with a series of problems that are second to none. They apply across disciplines and the application to space requires our re-definition of concepts. My heart lies with the new ‘extraterrestrial ethical’ issues that it provokes and this lecture on climate change further convinces me of the contribution this ethical framework can make to how we relate to outer space. There’s a whole lot of work to be done!

Architecture of Address and the geopoliics of orbital space Fraser Macdonald


Astropolitics, rather than geopolitics

Space or access to earth’s orbit is becoming ordinary and everyday affair – eg. GPS

What’s at stake geopolitically in struggle for earth’s orbit is too serious to pass without political comment

Over 700 operational space craft.

40 nations have payloads in orbit.

Ref: Space Traffic Management: Concepts and Practices, Space Policy, 2004.

GPS developed out of need to guide Polaris nuclear missible

GPS used for myriad of apps

Children next subject of surveillance

iPhone allows to display friend with green dot – using google map.

Immersive games.

Info about your position doesn’t belong to you.

Success of geo technologies lie in West infrastructure

‘where am I’ quintessential geographical question

UN Outer Space Treaty – cold waar fudge

Finding Time in Google Earth Chris Speed

Kevin Slavin: ‘Google has facts, but cities have secrets’

Questions & Answers

Roger Malina: extending meanings of time and space to space is difficult.

Roger Malina: Colonization of Moon could use same model as Antarctica, designate landing site on Moon as World Heritage Site, but UNESCO needed a country to sponsor, so did not work

Other cultural models

Makes us reflect on arrangements on Earth

Indigineous sovereignty -    non-territorial sovereignty

The Other Place Kirsten Johannsen

In Space and Out of Scale Nina Czegledy

Nicolas Peter, ‘space exploration 3.0 about to begin’

Why colonize mars -    diplomatic value -    economic value -    not science fiction -    home for mankind (backup)

Searching for and transmitting signals isa moral obligation ‘Gerhard Harendel, Max Plank Institute’

this discourse is wrapped up in moral justifications.

Q: Wendell W. Mendell

Rob: Mars 501 – Dutch Space – simulation of Mars – simulating videogames for 500 days, and camera to record facial movements of players, to have a record of psychl state of Mars 500 expt.

Fraser: geography has been oblivious to outer space

Roger: perhaps should be talking about cultural construction of space.

Less Remote

The morning was spent mostly on the geography of outer space. Discussions focused on the language through which we describe our cultural relationship to outer space, whether it is through architectural or positional dynamics that might operate around space exploration.


Tomas Saraceno

Bolivia – Salty Lake – flattest surface on earth

Human Reproduction in Space Rachel Armstrong

Crawford-Young Conclusions -    cytoskeleton resulting in dramatic effects on nervous system

The Art and Science of Interstellar Message Composition Doug Vakoch SETI Institute

Q: have you thought that aliens might be machines. A: we do take that seriously.

Yelling at Stars Forms of commujnication, messages, Performance tomorrow at CCA!

The Arts Catalyst Curated Event

Marko Peljhan

Micro and nano satellite technologies and applications Ljubljana, 7-9 Oct, 208

Moon Vehicle

Drawing on a projection of the moon – children – what would you like to see on the moon?

Pascal Pique Cite D’Espace, Toulouse

Jan Fabre - Anthropology of a Plane

Space City in Toulouse -    10 years since opened

Carrie Paterson

Gender, difference, body

ME: major obstacles to your work -    Inside and outside -    What we can do to artist’s bodies ethically -    How do we put the body back together in a meaningful way without falling into problematic tropes – limits of the body -    Access to space agency. Not possible in India to have high value pieces of art science unless can break down the walls. -    How inside of human is interacting with outside – eg. cognitive. -    Marko: culture

Biological Habitat Beyond Gravity Zbigniew Oksiuta

Isopynic Systems

Breeding Spaces

The Martian Rose (2007) c-lab


intro GM plants into wilderness – -    The Mexico Project

Nature, belonging and otherness

Mars – ultimate frontier

A Rose From Mars Symbolic delve into poetic imagery

NASA Institute for Advanced Concept -    redesigning plants for Mars

Bacteria has been to the moon and on return it is possible to resurrect them

Mars Simlation Laboratory University of Aarhus

Professor Neil Mason, Dept of Physic and Astronomy Art and Genomics Centre, Uni of Amsterdam

Tools to search: methods and objects of the Researchraft FFUR www.ffur.de

urban and imaginary places

participated in a parabolic flight -    ‘cloud core scanner’ – examine smallest particles in cloud’s material

Strange Attractor Carrie Paterson Carl Berg Gallery, Los Angeles

Art from Atlantica Mission Sara Jane Pell

National Review o Live Art, Glasgow, 2003

ME: Critique of Bioartists. elaborate. Who are they?

Interest in research proposals

Underwater space and art conferences

Sub-culture – various ties of life support –

Aesthetics of care

IAC Main Congress

The Dynamics of Climate Change Highlight Lecture

When it comes to predictions, 2 obstacles – 1) uncertainty of model and their represetation and 2) knowledge of initial system state.