• More-than-Planet: Finding New Planetary Imaginaries and Actions (Zoénie Deng, February 2023)

    More-than-Planet: Finding New Planetary Imaginaries and Actions (Zoénie Deng, February 2023)

    When above. The metropolitan system around the English Channel, on prospective sea level rise. Data developed by Territorial Agency.

    Introduction by Tonya Sudiono

    The essay More-than-Planet: Finding New Planetary Imaginaries and Actions by Zoénie Deng (concept developer Waag Futurelab) provides an intriguing insight of the artistic work-in-progress within the framework of the project More-than-Planet. How can we think beyond the framework of infinite economic growth? Why should we take matters into our own hands and care for the planet? What can we learn from the ocean, the planet’s biggest sensorium? And if toxic air is a monument to slavery, how do we take it down?

    You and I don’t seem to live on the same planet

    The planetary imaginary is a term coined by philosopher Bruno Latour in the essay We Don’t Seem to Live on the Same Planet (2018). He describes seven fictional planets such as planet ‘Anthropocene’, ‘Exit’ and ‘Security’. A planetary imaginary is a concept, a fiction but at the same time a very powerful way of thinking that influences what we strive for in life.

    To give an example: ‘Modernity’ is the idea that everyone should develop according to the American way of life. It implies that the American way of life is the best thing worth striving for, and that everyone who is not ‘there’ yet, is not modern.

    Why do planetary imaginaries matter?

    A first consequence of the existing imaginaries is that they polarise our societies. Planet ‘Modernity’ for example, allows the believer to look down on non-American ways of life. Whereas people on planet ‘Exit’ would like to leave our planet together with Elon Musk (without caring for the ones without the means to leave), others will try to reach ‘Security’ by defending their territory against anyone who seems to form a threat. The current planetary imaginaries thus create a division between the 'haves' and 'have-nots'.

    A second consequence is that none of the seven planets are tenable when we consider our planet’s ecological boundaries. We would need several planet earths to cater to all the needs, if everyone was to reach planet ‘Modernity’.

    This is why we need a new planetary imaginary, a new way of communal thinking that allows us to care for the planet and all its entities, including the more-than-human ones. Only if we care, we can start to create a planetary imaginary that strives for equality, and social and ecological justice. From this urgency, More-than-Planet is developed.


    Space Without Rockets (ed. E. Chardronnet, R. La Frenais, UV Editions, August 2022)

    This book is a guide on how to get to near outer space, in orbit, or further into the cosmos without polluting the atmosphere and worsening the climate emergency on Earth.

    Essential reading for all space enthusiasts, mission specialists, space engineers, aeronauts, astronauts, cosmonauts, taikonauts, space agency officials, but also space skeptics, balloonists, Earth system scientists, nature-culture historians, environmentalists, climate change activists, synergists, autonomous astronauts... and everyone on planet Earth.

    Written by scientists, engineers, artists, curators, and cultural specialists in space exploration, this book will change your mind about how we might steer our Spaceship Earth and travel to the Moon, planets, stars, and beyond in a sustainable way.

    Space Without Rockets (ed. E. Chardronnet, R. La Frenais, UV Editions, August 2022)

    Space without Rockets - Makery.info

  • More Than Planet booklet Old Observatory expo COVER

    More-than-Planet Expo Booklet (Miha Turšič, July 2022)

    The More-than-Planet expo at the Old Observatory Leiden (1 July - 23 December 2022, NL) is an exploration of the impact of humanity on our planet. The exhibition features five artworks, from artists Minna Långström, Dani Ploeger, Territorial Agency, Forensic Architecture and artist group Tega Brain, Julian Oliver and Bengt Sjölén.

    The connective tissue between the different artworks is that they comment on how our experiences and preconceptions change how we look at our planet. Take a look at the exhibition booklet, with an introduction by curator Miha Turšič.

  • Green Open Food Evolution, a speculative exploration of algae and the food transition (Pauline Briand, October 2022)

    Swiss artist Maya Minder’s “Green Open Food Evolution” installation was inaugurated as part of the group exhibition “More Than Living” at the Open Source Body festival at Cité Internationale des Arts in Paris. It will also be presented at Rencontres Mondes Multiples by Antre Peaux in Bourges from November 19 to December 4, 2022.

    At the opening of “More Than Living”, visitors gather around a sinuous table whose sunken craters are occupied by vases filled with a blue-colored beverage, bioplastic plates holding seaweed-wrapped maki rolls, small mounds of algae-seed granola, plus a variety of sauces, algae and fermented vegetables. During this performance banquet, food is eaten with hands, bioplastic containers are partly devoured. The desserts are served in Petri dishes holding bits of fruit imprisoned in the same agar-agar, a jellifying substance derived from algae, as in laboratories for microbiotic cultures. On the periphery, a wooden drying rack exhibits long dried seaweed, bioplastic forms containing plant fibers or animal hairs, kitchen utensils with both strange and familiar forms, Petri dishes seeded with microbiota of organisms belonging to various kingdoms, in colors ranging from blue to pink.

    Green Open Food Evolution (GOFE), the culinary installation conceived by Maya Minder and her collaborators, has come to life. We met the entire team before the opening to discuss this project at the intersection of art, traditional and digital craft, cooking and research.Green Open Food Evolution (GOFE), the culinary installation conceived by Maya Minder and her collaborators, has come to life. We met the entire team before the opening to discuss this project at the intersection of art, traditional and digital craft, cooking and research.

    Green Open Food Evolution, a speculative exploration of algae and the food transition (Pauline Briand, October 2022)

    Opening of the “More Than Living” exhibition prior to activating “Green Open Food Evolution”. © Quentin Chevrier

    Eating to invent the future

    Maya Minder introduces herself as an artist in “eat art” – a versatile expression that could translate as art mediated by food, but also the art of feeding oneself. Her artwork takes the form of installations that host various living processes. “Gasthaus – Fermentation and Bacteria was my first project. There was also a table in the center of the room, microbes were developing on top of it in the form of various ferments such as kimchi, sauerkraut, kombucha, kefir. I use this metaphor of fermentation as a reflection of social agitation. In the 21st century, we are starting to realize that the idea of community must be lived and reinforced. Within communities, you have social democracy, you have the platform of assemblies, you have to negotiate. It’s pretty to similar to a bacterial process. As the kombucha develops, bacteria communicate with each other, and at the turning point, they produce a new biofilm. Just as we do when we create great collaborations.”

    The GOFE project, which came directly out of this practice, launched in late 2020, when Ewen Chardronnet invited Maya to join a work-in-progress on algae in partnership with the Roscosmoe program and the Multicellular Marine Models laboratory at the Roscoff Biological Station in western France. The two artists then co-developed a speculative research that explores the concepts of symbiosis, planetary interdependence, and algae as food and a key actor in the ecological transition. Their work is based on the research of Xavier Bailly from the Multicellular Marine Models lab on Symsagittifera roscoffensis – a local autotrophic marine worm that in its juvenile stage ingests microalgae without digesting them, keeping them in its epidermis and feeding off their photosynthesis. They are also inspired by the Roscoff Biological Station’s research showing that Japanese people’s consumption of seaweed over time led to a horizontal gene transfer that modified their microbiome, as well as the ideas of evolutionary biologist Lynn Margulis, who speculated on a future “Homo Photosyntheticus” – the human version of the Roscoff worm.

    Maya Minder explains: “What if humans became Homo Photosyntheticus? For me, this narrative is both utopic and dystopic, because I like to cook, and becoming autotrophic would mean no longer having to eat. By imagining what humans would be like in the future, you also start to think about the human structures of our domestic world – how much energy we use, all our animal food and this whole industry that we create around food. I’m stepping back, in order to create a bigger space for imagination.”Maya Minder explains: “What if humans became Homo Photosyntheticus? For me, this narrative is both utopic and dystopic, because I like to cook, and becoming autotrophic would mean no longer having to eat. By imagining what humans would be like in the future, you also start to think about the human structures of our domestic world – how much energy we use, all our animal food and this whole industry that we create around food. I’m stepping back, in order to create a bigger space for imagination.”

    “Green Open Food Evolution” installation view

    “Green Open Food Evolution” installation view. © Maya Minder

    Installation detail: Petri dish experiments

    Installation detail: Petri dish experiments. © Vladimir Jamet

    Several questions emerge from this narrative. How do we feed a perpetually growing population? What would be the recipes, gestures, practices? “I’m very much inspired by Filippo Marinetti’s ‘futuristic cuisine’. With GOFE, we apprehend food like a playground, a means, not only to feed people, but also to create discussions and speculate.” Maya also questions how food changes our bodies: “I speculate on the way in which the daily ingestion of food changes us, the action of fermentation on our microbiome, the link to the place where we live, the role of the microbiome that is specific to the hands of the person who cooked. In Korea, we have the term ‘son-mas’, which connects a person’s hand to the taste of their cooking. When I give fermentation workshops, I say ‘Let’s mix our microbiomes!’”Several questions emerge from this narrative. How do we feed a perpetually growing population? What would be the recipes, gestures, practices? “I’m very much inspired by Filippo Marinetti’s ‘futuristic cuisine’. With GOFE, we apprehend food like a playground, a means, not only to feed people, but also to create discussions and speculate.” Maya also questions how food changes our bodies: “I speculate on the way in which the daily ingestion of food changes us, the action of fermentation on our microbiome, the link to the place where we live, the role of the microbiome that is specific to the hands of the person who cooked. In Korea, we have the term ‘son-mas’, which connects a person’s hand to the taste of their cooking. When I give fermentation workshops, I say ‘Let’s mix our microbiomes!’”

    Cooking to resist the system of productivity

    “Family cooking is holistic in the sense that it’s about sharing love, taking care of food, managing one’s time and resources, like the amount of land that we need. And it’s about becoming aware of the origin of your food. Food that you cook yourself is the best approach to get people interested in participating in this dialogue of food transition.” Indeed, this transition questions the amount of energy required to produce the food, the place given to meat, global food chains.

    Lisa Jankovics, the chef who supports Maya in her creations, adds: “Working with Maya has changed my relationship to time, I’ve slowed down. Fermentation requires you to take your time. You initiate the process, it will deploy over time, but you can’t totally control it. It’s a vital process.” For Lisa, eating with your hands is also important: “It’s imtimate and intense, you pay much more attention to the food.”

    Green Open Food Evolution, a speculative exploration of algae and the food transition (Pauline Briand, October 2022)

    We Have Always Been Biohackers © Maya Minder

    A question of texture

    Besides taste, other senses are also convened. “During my trip to Japan,” Maya recalls, “I ate a lot of algae and visited nori farms. Japanese people surprised me, they love sticky food. In Western food culture, viscous foods are considered offputting, revolting. But these foods also evoke eroticism and sensuality. Algae give us pleasure, satisfaction and umami taste. Experiencing pleasure and joy changes us. That’s why, for my speculative cooking workshops, I always bring strange and queer ingredients so that the participants can transform them into meals. And algae are undoubtably queer!”

    This research on texture is also done in collaboration with the artist and textiles/materials designer Alexia Venot: “Maya and I started to think about performative dinners, where there would be no distinction between the food and the plates. This raises a question that is common to both of our practices and that was also raised by Donna Haraway – the act of becoming one with the material and digesting our own work, putting into practice the compostability of the world, thinking about the life cycle of objects and also of projects. We work with a creative research approach. We share the same materials. Living together in the same space and working together creates a kind of alchemy, so that her recipes, and the materials that I create, act together.”

    Banquet participants not only tasted the food presented on plates made by Alexia for the occasion, they ate the dishes too. “The materials are bioplastics, biopolymers made from algae and binding elements such as algae or sesame. The result is gelatinous. This also involves research over time, as the materials evolve as they dry; they harden, shrink, change color.”

    Alexia mixes, presses and cuts, she uses molds, sometimes creates optical illusions, where temperature and humidity are especially important to the creation and durability of the dishes. This process has led her to question her own relationship with matter: “Our conventional way of transforming materials is really violent, it tells us a lot about our relationship with technique. Here it’s about finding a new sensuality by doing things in ways that are more care-based. When Maya works with kombucha, she has an affectionate relationship with it, she lives with the material and it’s part of her everyday life. In our approach, there is less determinism in the materials. My background is in art/sciences with research methods that come from engineering. I became interested in cooking also because in certain aspects, it requires less precision. There’s a magic side to cooking, with lots of intuition that comes into play, but also transmission, things that we’ve learned. There is gestural memory. It’s interesting to think about design in terms of cooking, rather than as an experimental laboratory.”

    Green Open Food Evolution, a speculative exploration of algae and the food transition (Pauline Briand, October 2022)

    Material design and research with algae. © Alexia Venot

    A question of relationships

    Maya sees cooking as a cultural act, but also as a revealer of relationships: “I don’t do synthetic biology, but I would qualify myself as a biohacker because we have always been biohackers, in the sense that we have always transformed matter and modified it. We have always selected plants and animals. We have always interfered in our environments and modified them. The cooking process was no doubt the first chemical process. We know that the human brain was modified by the introduction of fire and facilitated access to proteins.”

    Working with algae also means considering the local environment: “Food culture is huge in Korea, and lots of preparation processes still reference harvesting or aquaculture, a connection to the maritime world and the oceans. In Roscoff, I collected seaweed, I bathed in a forest of kelp. I tried to incorporate this carnal knowledge into my work. I’m very much influenced by the concept of eco-sexuality developed by Annie Sprinkle and Beth Stephens. By bathing in these kelp forests, you perceive a different world. You absorb the movement of seaweed in the water. You touch their sticky surfaces. It’s an impression that stays with you and inspires how you’ll cook them afterward.”

    This process also extends to Alexia’s creations: “We experimented with these techniques for the first time at dinner in Bourges. Once we had finished eating, we decided to bury the dishes. It’s quite pleasant to bury your own objects after use, we nourish the humus and go away unencumbered. It’s in-situ, neither discarding nor recycling, you’re feeding the soil.”

    Green Open Food Evolution, a speculative exploration of algae and the food transition (Pauline Briand, October 2022)

    Artwork detail: speculative tool. © Pacôme Gérard

    A question of forms

    GOFE is also the “media kitchen”, speculative cooking commissioned by Maya Minder and conceived with Victor Yvin & Pacôme Gérard Designers Artisans, Gabriel Violleau from the agency Bientôt architectes urbanistes and Ewen Chardronnet from Makery during their “Homo Photosyntheticus” residence at Antre Peaux’s UrsuLab in Bourges. Maya explains: “The idea was to create cooking that can be activated. We made racks to display the tools of speculative cooking, as well as algae and various other objects. Even the table is like a topographical landscape, non-uniform, that tells a story.” The installation is activated during workshops, performances and cooking presentations, inviting other artists and the general public to develop their own stories through cooking.

    Victor Yvin comments on the design process: “For these creations, we worked on the entire process, from harvesting the algae to ingesting them. That was why we designed a table that we could work on directly using tools.” Pacôme Gérard adds: “We were inspired by certain medieval tables that were both a recipient, with plates dug right into the surface of the table, and a centerpiece of the room, a piece of furniture whose role changes during the course of the day. We tried to create forms that stimulate the imagination and invoke as many uses as possible, to use it freely. This table is made to be transformed little by little.”

    Green Open Food Evolution, a speculative exploration of algae and the food transition (Pauline Briand, October 2022)

    The table and its topology designed by YG Designers Artisans for “Green Open Food Evolution”. © Vladimir Jamet

    In order to obtain these unique forms, the woodworking designers used a digital milling machine. Victor Yvin explains the process: “The machining is controlled by computer. We have a 3D model and processes for preparing the wood. We work layer by layer. We gradually remove material until we reach the final form. We smooth out the curves as much as possible, then there is a lot of sanding down, and finally the object is finished using carpentry tools.” Pacôme Gérard adds: “This technique lets us access a formal repertory that is a much longer process when done by hand, especially with wood that is hard like oak. We wouldn’t know how to access that repertory otherwise.”

    These cooking ustensils invented ad hoc are also an invitation to rethink our usual habits. “Each food culture has a different way of processing and cooking foods,” observes Maya. “Even the way we cut vegetables, cook meat, are skills that we received from our parents, as if we are cooking from memory. These tools are, once again, a departure toward a speculative, futuristic, post-modern lifestyle.”

    While some utensils resemble conventional cooking tools, others invite us to discover new practices, just as some extend our own limbs. “We are seeking an ancestral futurism, a fusion reflected by the installation,” Maya continues. Here, the utensils may seem out of proportion with our habitual cooking tools, adapting to the length of macroalgae, which can reach several meters.

    “With these utensils we imagined new gestures to pick up the seaweed, crush them, cut them, prepare them like microalgae such as spirulina,” Pacôme Gérard explains. “For example, we have one tool in the shape of a DNA strand to mix, homogenify the algae.”

    Green Open Food Evolution, a speculative exploration of algae and the food transition (Pauline Briand, October 2022)

    Tools of the installation during their fabrication at YG Designers Artisans. © Pacôme Gérard

    The table was also designed like a living object. “This is where animism appears,” says Maya. “The table will evolve, especially in its appearance. I am careful about staining it, but it’s an artwork that is also functional. It will be touched and it wants to be touched. There is a form of sensuality. It will carry the marks of its history.” Victor Yvin adds: “We used oak, which is a wood that reacts strongly to tannins and humidity, and therefore to work with algae. It’s a canvas that will be transformed. Now it’s blank because we haven’t used it yet, but we thought of it like a kind of painting where running water would be painted across it. The idea was to favor these traces, which resonates with Maya’s work as she recycles the tablecloths used for these banquets.” Tablecloths that frame the installation presented at Cité Internationale des Arts.

    Green Open Food Evolution was part of the “More Than Living” group exhibition during the Open Source Body festival at Cité Internationale des Arts in Paris, and will be presented at Rencontres Mondes Multiples by Antre Peaux in Bourges, France, from November 19 to December 4, 2022.

  • We Are All On The Periphery (Rob La Frenais, October 2022)

    On September 23-24, at Cité internationale des arts in Paris, Global Periphery symposium was exploring the contemporary imaginaries of space through examples of artistic creations and of activities from the space sector with voices from multiple continents and locations.

    Global Periphery, a conference and event organised by Annick Bureaud and Marcus Neustetter, took place at the end of the International Astronautical Congress in Paris and posed the general question – ‘whose bodies are in space?’. The event culminated after many years of the Leonardo-Olats space and the arts workshop, which took place at the Malina House (a historic artist’s studio near the Bois de Boulogne), where, gathered among many archive photos including those of the Leonardo founder and space pioneer Frank Malina with Yuri Gagarin, artists trying to break through into the rarefied atmosphere of the space industry including Kitsou Dubois, the first dancer in zero gravity. I attended the first back in 1997. The last such workshop was to have been the aptly-named All Woman Crew in 2020 but this was, like many events in the last years, moved online. The congress itself was an uneasy return to normality, with lavish stands and a large Ariane rocket greeting arriving delegates. With the slogan ‘Space For All’ it was intended as a celebration of the ‘space community’ as well as being public-facing. However there were many unspoken and unstated agendas, including the paradox of earth observation being necessary to measure the extent of the climate catastrophe and the increasing exponential pollution of multiple rocket launches, which are proliferating at a vast rate. Many of the stands in the congress exhibition reflected considerable greenwashing and of course no-one mentioned the war. Roscosmos was visibly not present, ostensibly because visas were not being issued. Makery made its contribution to the climate and space debate, launching a new book ‘Space Without Rockets’ unofficially under the Ariane rocket then onwards by electric bus to the first airship hangar in the world in the forest of Meudon outside Paris. The book, edited by myself and Ewen Chardronnet, the culmination of an action created by Tomas Saraceno in White Sands Desert and in Paris for COP 21, was also launched at Global Periphery.

    Global Periphery was opened by an extraordinary online simultaneous performance organised by Marcus Neustetter between Paris and South Africa as part of Imaginary Futures with the Senegalese dancer and choreographer Fatou Cissé live and interacting with performers such as dancer and musician Xolisile Bongwana in various remote locations, fading in and out as the signal and power varied. Imaginary Futures describes itself here “In the process of exploring a collective understanding of what a shared future might look like, an experimental dialogue of creative producers from different disciplines and contexts look at their shared cultural and natural resources… Through a sharing of practices and contexts, these sessions seek to develop a collective narrative and to ultimately explore the notion of a common future vision.” It was developed originally by Neustetter for the festival Afropixel (slogan ’Power To The Commons’) in Senegal in 2021, which took place in virtual space out of necessity.

    We Are All On The Periphery (Rob La Frenais, October 2022)

    Imaginary Futures at Global Periphery, Fatou Cissé, Marcus Neustetter and the South African Team. © Quentin Chevrier

    Challenging the Blue Marble

    Opening the speaker presentations was Frédérique Aït-Touati who produces theatre productions using iconic images of space along with, among others, Bruno Latour, in a series called ‘Terrestrial Trilogy’. For example, “‘Anatomy of the Earth’, a creation project for the stage, wants to gives a ‘story of the gaze’, the dimension of an epic through a double common thread… the testament of a woman, a scientist, addressed to her little girl, for the future, to leave her the trace of this transformation of the view and of the knowledge that we have of the Earth System.” She challenges the colonial notions of space exploration, coming from, for example, Elon Musk’s SpaceX.

    We Are All On The Periphery (Rob La Frenais, October 2022)

    Frédérique Aït-Ouati. © Louis Hemon

    Susmita Mohanty, a space industry entrepreneur from India and founder of Earth2Orbit, moderating, outlined the geopolitical aspects of the way space exploration is perceived and asked the pertinent question ‘What is the Global South’ in terms of space. She talked about NASA’s ‘megaphone’ approach to the coming Moon mission Artemis, as opposed to the less well publicised ISRO (Indian Space Research Organisation) missions to the Moon and ended by asking what colour the next flag on the Moon should be. She said white was suggested during the Congress, which is ironically what the famous stars and stripes planted by Neil Armstrong would now be after 50 years of exposure to the Sun.

    We Are All On The Periphery (Rob La Frenais, October 2022)

    Susmita Mohanti and Fabiane Borges. © Louis Hemon

    Fabiane Borges reminded us about the political situation in Brazil, where Lula is standing against Bolsonaro (in fact as I write it looks if Lula is about to win). She said that if Lula was elected again, Brazil could return to the previous golden age where cultural players were instrumental in government. Borges, who has written the essay ‘Brazil Without Rockets’ in the Space Without Rockets book went on to describe the formative Movimento dos Sem Satélites project founded by Pedro Soler and others and the ‘Arte en Órbita’ project she curated in Ecuador and spoke about the artists projects for the Brazilian national institute for space research, INPE, described in her recent Makery article: Space Art and Culture in Brazil.

    Davis Cook, from South Africa, cited Ha-Joon Chang’s influential work ‘Kicking Away the Ladder’ in which developed countries are attempting to ‘kick away the ladder’ with which they have climbed to the top, thereby preventing developing counties from adopting policies and institutions that they themselves have used. He sees the big space agencies in developed countries as examples of this. He described various space initiatives in Kenya, South Africa and Nigeria, that are relatively unknown to the populations living there, because they associate space exploration only with NASA. He spoke of the irony of people walking around African cities in NASA T-shirts without realising Africa had space agencies like the Kenyan Space Agency, albeit run under contract with the Italian Space Agency and astronomical initiatives like the Square Kilometre Array in South Africa.

    The queer feminist thinker Eleanor Armstrong, (also known for her writings on sex in space at ‘Elliethelement’) finished the day in the same vein asking ‘where is the place for space?’. She spoke of space exploration as an instrument of American soft power and how science museums around the world bend the truth, such as in the widespread theft of rocks and meteorites that indigenous populations regard as sacred. She also talked about space and colonisation in the context of France, which used to launch rockets from Algeria until it was forced to leave and now uses another colony French Guiana, where the Kourou launch site is based, which was the site of protests against conditions in the French overseas territory. Coming from the UK, she also decried the depiction of the history of British rocketry, taking place mainly on the site of the Woomera Rocket Base, also the location of one of Australia’s most notorious refugee prisons and scene of protests by Aboriginal people since the ‘70s. Armstrong also pointed out the dual use of space funding between the military and space agencies, Woomera also being used by the British for nuclear bomb testing in the 40s and 50’s.

    We Are All On The Periphery (Rob La Frenais, October 2022)

    Eleanor Armstrong. © Louis Hemon

    The second day of Global Periphery was opened by Ewen Chardronnet describing the More-Than-Planet Creative Europe project, which initiated this conference and many other activities such as the Space Without Rockets book. He was followed by one of the other partners, Antti Tenetz from the Northern Photographic Centre in Finland which will use one of the deepest mines in Europe. He said “Going so deep is like going into space.” They would connect the subterranean space with Earth observation through the European Space agency. He asked “What kind of culture are we going to produce in space?”.

    Inner Telescope

    Eduardo Kac has been a space artist since 1986. His poems were social writing systems from the bottom up – gravitropic holopoems. He pointed out no human language systems known are written this way. He originally used slow scan television produce his ‘spacescapes’ and placed an DVD artwork ‘Monogram’ on the Cassini spacecraft when it launched in 1997. It arrived 2004 on Saturn when the spacecraft dived into the planet to avoid polluting it and the artwork was burnt up. His early works for satellite were ground-based glyphs based on the ‘Lepus’ constellation, which looked rather like a bunny. This is the first presentation I have seen by Kac in which it was not necessary to mention Alba, the GFP bunny! While early versions were expensive to do, his recent glyphs on rooftops and other spaces can be accessed by Google Earth. His latest one is in a cemetery in Geneva where Jorge Luis Borges is buried. Kac was artist in residence at CNES, where he worked with astronaut Thomas Pesquet to created the origami sculpture for the ISS, ‘Inner Telescope’ in 2017. I asked him how it was to work as an artist with the astronaut on this project. “He got that my artwork was not just a fetish object in space and that the telescope was using time and space in a real way. He sent me an email from the ISS on the success of the project.” Finally he described his project ADSUM (meaning ‘Here I am’) for the moon which has been tested in the ISS. Hopefully it will go to the Moon when the Moon Gallery finally flies.

    We Are All On The Periphery (Rob La Frenais, October 2022)

    Eduardo Kac & Yoko Shimizu. © Louis Hemon

    Yoko Shimizu, artist in residence at the Ars Electronica Future Lab, described her ‘Beyond Earth’ all-female artist collective who has created Bio-ink, a living form of ink. She sees living systems entire ecosystems in the universe. Their latest work shows how earth, life, gravity and light works together, flying with the stratospheric balloon company Space Perspective (mentioned in the Space Without Rockets book). They were able to test Living Light, which uses biomimicry and AI creatures, created by synthetic biology company Twist Bioscience, prototyped for the artwork which was actually contained within the Neptune vehicle and went 30 km high.

    Ale De La Puente spoke of ‘living in entangled times’. According to her, astronomical events such as the Transit of Venus only happen because we are standing on Earth and instead of looking at constellations we should be looking at the space between them. She mentioned the next Transit of Venus coincides with a total solar eclipse in the year far in the future, 15,000. Referring to the famous image of Montezuma when he saw the comet which foretold the ending of the Aztec civilisation when the Spanish arrived in Mexico, she decided to re-create the moment by building a ‘celestial dome’ with 500 kg of pyrotechnics on the night of the Mexican presidential election. For 40 minutes there was an unannounced comet in the sky and people thought they saw a UFO, which was reflected in following conspiracies and legends similar to that of the Virgin of Guadalupe on social media. When I asked her which was the most significant eclipse she has seen, she replied ‘the one in the future’. She is planning a new work for the Mexican total solar eclipse in 2024.

    Rohini Devasher is an astronomer and self-confessed eclipse-chaser. As artist in residence at the Open Data Institute she is planning to create a digital twin of the earth. She also talked about a historical project in the Kodailkanal Solar Observatory in South India which has archives of 100 years of data on the Sun. At this observatory, observing runs in the family and there are three generations of astronomers. Finally, she described the Imperial-era conspiracy theory in which, in a strange fantasy of control, Victorian scientists tried to claim there were links between the occurrence of sunspots and famines, when in fact they were caused by the British exporting grain.

    For All Moonkind

    Michelle Hanlon from For All Moonkind talked about the human artefacts on the Moon which were still preserved there 50 years since we left the Moon. (I wrote about this in the article ‘Cohabiting The Moon’). She pointed out that the entire history of human technology, from early maps to the invention of glass, all eventually went into getting to the Moon. She critiqued the hubris of the Outer Space treaty as human-centred and pointed out that regolith from the Moon is now selling for millions of dollars, providing at least one commercial reason to mine the Moon. Lunar governance was necessary but did we have the moral right to go to the Moon, given that there was no indigenous voice in space policy? However the main problem would be the free-for all of businesses invading the Moon. The private space companies were taking the attitude ‘Lets get there before the laws get there!’, while the United Nations was not functioning properly as a regulatory body because of the Ukraine situation. Then there were the NASA ‘Artemis accords’ to which 22 nations have signed up to create safety zones, for example Tranquility Base and its Apollo remains, like the Moon Rover which enabled to astronauts to drive on the Moon. Unfortunately (in my opinion) these accords amount to yet more US space imperialism. As Annick Bureaud said earlier, “We are all on the periphery”.

    We Are All On The Periphery (Rob La Frenais, October 2022)

    Marcus Neustetter & Fatou Cissé, performance Imaginary Futures. © Quentin Chevrier

    The closing performance was very moving and intense. Marcus Neustetter: “Both performances were intense but the second entered a rather more subtle and calmer intensity. What was interesting, was the layered improvisations and juxtapositions that, while partially anticipated in my direction of the individuals and the targeted questions to them, caught me by surprise and took me emotionally and cerebrally into another unexpected dimension. The format of the Imaginary Futures process has always been challenging all of our expectations but with Fatou Cissé and myself being on stage and experiencing a physicality in relation to the screen based responses brought out new personal reactions and perspectives”.

    Global Periphery and the More-than-Planet initiative were a provocative artistic and creative challenge to the increasingly sterile showcase of the the International Astronautical Congress, which moves on to an actual war zone – Azerbaijan (there are border skirmishes with Armenia) – next year with a slogan ironically borrowing from the John Lennon/Yoko Ono song – ‘Give Space A Chance’.

  • Space art and culture in Brazil: Three years of activities at the National Institute for Space Research (Fabiane M. Borges, September 2022)

    Since 2019, Fabiane M. Borges curates a research platform on Art and Space Culture at the Brazilian National Institute for Space Research (INPE). On the occasion of the 73d International Astronautical Congress in Paris, the Space Without Rockets publication and the Global Periphery symposium, she comes back on the last three years of the program.

    In the current historical moment we see a resurgence of interest in space as a way to expand the means of production, circulation and terrestrial knowledge. This requires more researchers and specialists committed to represent the regional interests of Latin America and the Global South. In this perspective we present space art and culture as a transdisciplinary field that has the task of awakening creative, imaginative and innovative aspects in the space area and technoscientific development. In industrially precarious countries like Brazil, it is necessary to give strength to inventive skills to innovate the field of space science and achieve new ways to guarantee research, autonomy and sovereignty. It is through the alliance between technosicentific knowledge, economic investment and cultural and social diversity that we can think of sustainable and even more powerful clean technologies. In this perspective, a series of art and space culture activities are being carried out at INPE. This hybrid field can generate news cosmicities, which can transform consumers into actors of technodiversity. We intend to use this series as a platform of reference to create a center of research in space art and culture at the institute. We analyze in this text six space art and culture process we are realizing at INPE 1) the curatorial and conceptual lines applied in the development of space art and culture projects at INPE; 2) the artistic residencies (2019-2022); 3) the ArtSat category (artistic satellites) in the CubeDesign satellite competition (2021); 4) the Workshops of ArtSats (2020/2021); 5) the First Album of Latin American cosmic Sounds (2021); 6) the Plutocracy on Pluto, summer course focused on astropolitics (2022). This text analyzes the methodologies used for the construction of these projects and its general applicability.

    Curatorial and conceptual lines applied in the development of art and space culture projects at INPE

    We have adopted in the space art and culture activities at INPE, a curatorial line that tries to promote the process of singularization constituted on the basis of critical thinking, decolonial studies and social and techno diversity. In search of building intersections between local knowledge and astropolitical events, we try to associate the terrestrial multiple perspectives to the orbital, solar, interplanetary and cosmic complexity.


    We know that the harmful effects of colonization apply not only to macro-structural political phenomena, but also to subjective and micropolitical phenomena. The emotional and affective repertoires, as well as the linguistic and memorial characteristics of peoples are direct results of their environmental and historical matrices that manifest themselves in unique worldviews and experiences. When these singularities encounter the steamroller of Western colonial history, it is devastated (1). The consequences generated in Latin America in general and in Brazil in particular during the beginning of the colonial period until now are still not properly measured. The compulsory production of homogenization that extends from the colonial period until now, brings as an effect the precariousness of the future, since it does not guarantee a broad spectrum of references for the expansion of our productive intelligences, hindering the variety of research in the field of humanities and technoscience. These productive areas, instead of having broad and unrestricted access to cultural multiplicities, are restricted to monocultural rational models, impoverished by little variation in the senses of rationality, affectivity and experience, because they are based on a colonial, phallocentric, egocentric, capitalized culture, sustained by exploitative modalities, with little emotional amplitude and full of sexist and racial metaphors. In this way, ecological repertoires, world perspectives, emotional nuances, linguistic knowledge, and also technological developments that have not had the opportunity to flourish in the past are lost (yet, perhaps).

    Our interest in these debates does not presuppose a return to ancestral primitivism, much less an uncritical adherence to globalism, but is located between (inter) planetary politics and cultural diversity of contemporary Latin America (and global south). We insist on these issues to collaborate in the construction of a future in which these historical injustices are repaired, in which the cultural diversity of the gender, race, and class minorities can be manifested through technological, scientific, theoretical, poetic, artistic artifacts, and so on. Contrary to this movement, we have on the other side the corporate massification system, which through the manipulation of science, technology and the media creates a machine of reproduction of colonial unconsciousness, that transforms the relations between human and nature into a treadmill of exploitation and expropriation, and prevents the autonomy of peoples to assert their own perspective on the world, nature, technology, and the future.

    Geopolitical multilateralism

    With the current geopolitical analysis, mainly scanned after the events that occurred in February 2022, with the occupation of Ukrainian territories by Russia, which publicly brought to light the need to change the logic of a polarized world to a possible multipolar era, where several nations are deeply thinking about their own sovereignty instead of submitting to a single dominant logic, we can understand more precisely the structure of the hegemonic thought so-called colonial or universalist, and what are the power networks that want to maintain it. The analysis of this geopolitical data allows us to understand more clearly that the projects considered inexorable within the capitalist, militarist machine, producer of the so-called universal subjectivity, are in reality organized by small conglomerates of financial and governmental groups that invest in technoscientific research for the production of their own profits, that with the domination of the media linked to political domination, determine the “scenarios of reality”, from a set of beliefs and values transformed into capital.

    Countries like Brazil are bound to this so-called universal standardization, under constant threat of economic sanctions or military attacks by allied countries and corporations that have their own plans for the various “peripheral” regions of the world, the West, South America, Brazil. Local Brazilian industry is becoming precarious, because its “national vocation” is increasingly tied to the export of food and natural resources, because the technological safeguards, the restrictions for scientific production are actually determined from the articulation between corporate elites of the country itself and foreign corporate elites. These programs of economic alliances between national and international elites disregard national development projects because their interest is to generate profit for their own corporations. In other words, in the name of globalization, a universal set of elites is formed whose goal is to generate more profit and not to solve local social problems.

    Thinking from localized knowledge (2) and not just accepting the great universalized and homogenized determinants is a way to safeguard the different perspectives that inhabit our planet, which directly interferes in the way we think and produce territory, technology, science, philosophy, art, and other possible or desirable worlds. But the conquest of this autonomy, in the historical references, has so far been achieved through much resistance, war, death, confrontation, genocide and murder, which puts, as a paradoxical effect, the entire arms industry in motion and consequently increases the profits of the war industry itself. It takes a lot of imagination to interrupt this logic.

    Astropolitics and space culture hegemony

    During the Cold War, in the space race, the world still divided its attention to a bilateral model (Soviet Union and the United States) and watched in this dispute, between state communism versus capitalist liberalism, two very different ways of thinking about the future among the stars. After the US made the first manned moon landings, the USSR continued to invest in the construction of the MIR (the first manned space station put into orbit). During this period, a series of cooperative space projects between the two powers began to take place, but by the end of the 1980s, the USSR began to weaken as a political, economic, and ideological project, and finally the union of Soviet socialist republics collapsed. The American liberal project became the new world empire project, and applied its liberal political ideologies to the space dream. The entire cosmology produced by NASA became a world reference, highly propagated to all corners of the globe, and these space dreams cradled the childhood dreams of billions of the world’s citizens. This NASA cosmology, built from the investment of several North Atlantic countries, was made possible by a large investment in the articulation between military and space science and technology and the use of cultural sectors such as education, media and arts (fine arts, design, cinema, documentary films, scifi literature, etc.). This articulation was fundamental to the construction of US cosmology and space culture from before the Apollos until the turn of the 2000s.

    Today it seems that NASA is weakening as a national institution through the outsourcing of its work to the private sector, such as to companies like SpaceX and others, just as it begins to lose its hegemony to countries like China, which in turn is also investing heavily in the articulation between space science (military and civilian) and the cultural sectors (education, advertising, and art), thus building its own cosmology, its own version of the future of earthlings among the stars, based on its own space dreams. So when we talk about space culture, we are necessarily negotiating with hegemonic projects that drag along the research and industries of other countries, that seek to engage in the technologies already developed in order to be able to act in some way on the space scene, without being able to build structural differences in these hegemonies. But it is in this sense that we insist on acting with a research and production platform in the sector of space art and culture, because it has the capacity to produce social engagement, produce new proposals, build imaginaries, intervene in the homogenized symbolic universe.

    Anthropocene of the Earth and Space

    At a historic moment when humans are slowly realizing their form of production and consumption is exterminating the earth’s biodiversity, the use of resources is putting their existence at risk, and the international economic relations are far from bringing justice and social balance, space dreams gain another connotation. Celestial stars begin to be seen as a place of abundant resources. With this, scientific research accelerates its experiments and companies develop mechanisms to exploit the minerals, space law anticipate the problems arising from the use of these resources, medicine starts to do tests in microgravity to cure cancer and make genetic experiments, and food companies start to build their space planting projects. This is how part of the new world economy begins to migrate its interests to the solar system, what we have called in our meetings solar capitalism, which is the displacement of the same expansionist, colonial logic of exploitation and expropriation of resources to other planets. It is good to underline that we are not against human expansion towards the solar system, much less against human colonies or the use of extraterrestrial natural resources to potentiate terraforming on an interplanetary scale. The question is how we can interfere in the colonial logic so that it does not repeat its expansion in the same molds produced during European expansionism towards the Americas, which intends to promote without any shame a space feudalism or a solar plutocracy. It is at this point that art and space culture have much to contribute to break the structural hegemony of the new space projects, expanding the possibilities of occupation of the solar system in a creative, intuitive, imaginative and multidiverse way.

    Space art and culture in Brazil: Three years of activities at the National Institute for Space Research (Fabiane M. Borges, September 2022)

    Denilson Baniwa, Letter to the indigenous people of the planet Mars with codes of recognition of the planet Earth, 2020

    Produce difference and not only reproduce the same model in space art and culture

    By adopting the vision of diversity, we are in a better position to think about transdisciplinarity. But this intersection between local diversity and astropolitical events is no easy task. We can speculate, for example, what this means when we think of the local complexities of the USA, Russia, China, Arab Emirates, India, the countries of Europe, Africa, Asia, Middle East, or right here in South America. Each one of these points disputes internal ideologies and carries in its baggage its own irreducibilities, its own historical traumas, its megalomaniac idiosyncrasies versus the history of the disempowered, its projects of power versus its religious fanaticisms, its crises of values and rights, and its local injustices. To confuse the production of diversity with a regionalist homogenization is a completely inconceivable idea. This is a naive utopia. Apparently the unique way to relate local diversities to the more neuralgic aspects of astropolitics and astroculture is to bet on historically effective skills of negotiation and diplomacy between various sectors of the society, in our case between varios sectores of space sciences and of art/culture, accessing creative spheres able to create and express, from practices such as transculturality e transdisciplinarity, what is most pulsating, controversial, complex, or even, disruptive or antagonistic to the massive domestication of our intelligence and our future. We have to act all the time in the interstices between space imaginaries and space hegemonies.

    In this perspective, a series of art and space culture activities are being carried out at INPE from 2019 until now (end of 2022), which aims to advance in transdisciplinary research projects. This amalgam is capable of producing news cosmic thoughts in the country, which not only consumes but also generates technodiversity. We intend to use this series as a platform of reference to create a research core group in space art and culture.

    Artistic residencies at PGETE/INPE and INPE & Society project – COEPE/DIEXC (2019-2022) (3)

    The first activities we did at INPE were the artistic residencies. We advocated for artistic residencies at INPE for three reasons: 1) to create spaces for research in art and space culture; 2) construction of transdisciplinary fields between art and sciences; 3) expanding the spectrum of applicability of space technologies to other sectors of society.

    Space art and culture in Brazil: Three years of activities at the National Institute for Space Research (Fabiane M. Borges, September 2022)

    The first resident artist of our platform SACI-E (Subjectivity, Art and Space Science) was the engineer, educator and artist Karina Karin (4) (11/2019), who developed the project “OriSat” (Ori: head in Yoruba – african Níger-Congo Language, Sat: Satellite), an afrofuturist satellite in cubesat format aimed at quilombola communities. Karina’s ArtSat makes reference to Afro-Brazilian ancestrality and to Afrofuturism as a cultural segment, its mission is food security and the care of soil, temperature and environment of the plantations in quilombola communities. The artsat is still in the building process, but it is being first tested at the State School Doutor Rodolfo Siqueira, from the City Hall of São Gonçalo / RJ, where Karina develops science education projects. The residency was under the care of PGETE/INPE, curated by the author of this text and supervised by Dr. Walter Abrahão dos Santos.

    In February of 2020 was the turn of the artist Pitter Rocha (5) (UNIRIO) to go to the SACI-E art-residency, also an Afrofuturist artist, who sonified the CBERS 04A data. The CBERS (China-Brazil Earth Resources Satellite) program was implemented in 1988 through a partnership between the National Institute for Space Research (INPE) and the Chinese Academy of Space Technology (CAST), in a binational technical and scientific agreement involving Brazil and China. The CBERS 04A satellite is an Earth observation satellite, the result of a Sino-Brazilian agreement launched on December 20, 2019, is the successor to CBERS-4, launched on December 7, 2014. Resident artist Pitter Rocha was the first artist to operate with the CBERS 04A data, a month after its launch, turning it into a musical document. The presentation of his work were demonstrated in the lectures of the 1st Workshop of ArtSat of INPE (6). The residency was also under the care of PGETE/INPE, curated by the author of this text and supervised by Dr. Walter Abrahão.

    The third artist in residency at SACI-E was Zander Porter (7). In March 2022, the artist, choreographer and performer from Amsterdam University of the Arts (DAS Choreography) performed his work under the title “3MOT1NG”, also known as somatic cyborg. The work consists of the translation in the form of gestures and choreographed movements, the affections that the encounter between human and technology arouse, the artist transforms the strangeness and human subjugation to the machine, into performance. Zander’s artistic work at INPE was to conduct an experiment in the architecture of the anechoic chambers of the LIT (Test and Integration Laboratory), proposing to transform his body into a satellite under test, deflagrating the solitude of this body in a hostile and machinary environment. Accustomed to working in groups, the artist put himself to the test by investigating alone the extremely silent environment of the cameras and with live video recordings built the structure of his choreography. It was the first residency done under the care of COEPE and DIEXC/INPE, curated by the author of this text and supervised by Dr. Paulo Escada.

    In our analysis, the residencies showed positive results, because despite being experimental and with no financial support from INPE, the institution provided support for receiving the artists and making available equipment and laboratories, as well as academic supervision for the researchers artists, who were able to produce works related to INPE’s space science program. The two first residencies were produced by the Space Engineering and Technology sector, and the third was produced buy INPE & Society (COEPE/DIEXC) but many other areas are willing to receive research artists, such as the astrophysics sector, advanced mathematics, remote sensing, terrestrial systems, among others. The goal is to expand the area of access for artist-in-residencies in the future. Some more artistic residencies were planned for 2022 and 2023, however, due to the pandemic the process was more restricted and slow.

    ArtSat, Space Art, nanosatellite, space junk, (research in our greatest tool)

    There is a great fear in relation to small satellites because of their durability and the ease with which they become space junk. Furthermore, the large undertakings in this area are being made by megacorporations that launch constellations of small satellites at once, thus changing the orbital traffic and dominating its use. When we join the small satellite project, we do so because this technology democratizes orbital use for developing countries that are not able to compete with the production of large scale satellites. Small satellites facilitate access to space science and technology, disseminate knowledge, and involve space engineering sectors with other fields of knowledge. Universities, schools, institutions and companies in the countries of the global south have shown increasing interest in small satellites in recent years. This is due to the accessibility and cheapening of resources. When we defend the creation of small artistic satellites (ArtSats), we do it in the name of access to research and at the same time, to guarantee representativeness and legitimacy in the space sector. The issue of space junk must be seen as a problem of the satellite components, which must be increasingly natural and less harmful, and for the treatment of waste, nowadays there are a number of efficient projects that aim to strongly reduce the space junk produced by the space industry, but still with little investment. These projects need to have more financial support to be properly tested and finally used. In order to work exactly in the interstices of these problems, we have opened the ArtSat programs, as a field of research and action in this sense.

    Space art and culture in Brazil: Three years of activities at the National Institute for Space Research (Fabiane M. Borges, September 2022)

    But what is an ArtSat? ArtSat is an abbreviation for Satellite Art (8). It is an artifact that combines satellite engineering with artistic techniques. The quality of an ArtSat is related to the utility of its payload, but also to its materiality, the nature of its components, and its form. Beyond the requirements of space engineering, the characteristics of an ArtSat also manifest themselves in its poetic attributes. An ArtSat is the materialization of a “hybrid language” that articulates technoscience with the sensitive dimension in the same object, besides being an instrument of investigation, research and deepening technoscientific, artistic and cultural knowledge, as exemplified by Karina Karim’s OriSat satellite, whose mission, as mentioned above, is to operate with food security in quilombola communities, joining aesthetic and conceptual aspects of Afrofuturism and at the same time determining a social utility to the object.

    Every satellite has a mission. So does an ArtSat. An ArtSat’s missions aggregate content that concerns also to the fictional and speculative dimensions, which has the power to affect sensibilities and futures. It is in our interest to open spaces for the creation of satellites whose mission is driven by afrofuturistic, ecological, indigenous, handcrafted proposals, that is, we want to potentiate the construction of satellites that don’t exist or have even been imagined. ArtSats are technical devices whose aesthetic freedom promotes other problems and challenges for space engineering, which can leverage research in the area in ways not yet foreseen. This allows us to broaden the panorama about the new Space Race that emerges in contemporaneity, urging us to build a proper place for space occupation. In other words, it allows us to create concrete tools of action to deal with the great problems of our time related to the terrestrial, atmospheric and space environment, phenomena inherent to satellite technology research, without, however, abandoning the symbolic and futuristic production, which are generators of new worlds.

    Space art and culture in Brazil: Three years of activities at the National Institute for Space Research (Fabiane M. Borges, September 2022)

    ArtSat Category in the CubeDesign (9)

    CubeDesign is an annual event organized since 2018 by INPE’s Postgraduate Program in Space Engineering and Technology (PGETE). The initiative brings society closer to the development of small satellites in a competitive environment. In 2018 and 2019 participants from several institutions from different Latin American countries participated in the competition to perform all the tests required to launch a small satellite into space: environmental test, environmental pressure, thermal variation, voltage, battery temperature, vibration, random test, telemetry, suitability check, mission, communication, remote control, mechanism, battery conditioning, altitude determination, stabilization system, imaging, etc. The three categories in 2018 and 2019 were CubeSat, CanSat, Mockup. In 2020 and 2021, due to the pandemic, the competition was virtual, and even with restricted access to satellite testing, was successfully launched in 2021 the Data Science and ArtSat category (10).

    In 2021 we launched for the first time the open call for the ArtSat (11) category, obtaining the participation of two competing teams: the team “Book of life” (transdisciplinary group created by the participants of II Workshop of ArtSat/2020), and the team “The shape in Space” of the State School Humberto de Campos of Sorocaba. For orientation, analysis and decision about the score of each team, we formed an advisor team with artists and engineers: Juan Diaz Infante (Ulysses I Satellite / Mexico), Lucas Bambozzi (Art and Technology / FAAP / Brazil), Mariana Paredes (Kosmica Institute / Mexico), Bruno Vianna (Brazilian from the Academy of Fine Arts / University of the Arts Helsinski (FI), Italo Pinto Rodrigues (Space Engineering / INPE / Brazil), Gabriela Junqueira (Space Engineering / INPE). The participants submitted their project files and after two weeks made the oral presentation of the project to the advisors (22/11/2021). They had 10 more days to deliver the reworked projects. Both teams were able to develop their project materially, the second place team “The Shape in Space ” launched their experiment with an atmospheric balloon a few days after the end of the competition in December 2021. The first place team “The Book of Life” is launching their experiment in orbit via SpaceX in late 2022, supported by the Mercosul Biennial. But the satellite changed its name, it is now called “Orbital Temple”. Its mission is to ask for names of dead people who have to be in heaven – “Who shall enter heaven? You tell me”. Orbital Temple is the first orbital satellite from the Global South with an artistic mission.

    Space art and culture in Brazil: Three years of activities at the National Institute for Space Research (Fabiane M. Borges, September 2022)

    Orbital Temple / 2022 – Artist Edson Pavoni, developed in collaboration with: Pedro Kaled, André Biagioni, Guilherme Bullejos, Roberta Savian Rosa, Jonathan Querubina, João Paulo Dutra and Eduardo Erlmn Edson Pereira, Gabriela Veiga and Clara Marques. http://orbitaltemple.art/

    Both teams made an interesting ArtSat project. They not only managed to resolve the demands of an ArtSat competition, but were also able to build their own strategies to launch their space artifacts.

    The awarding and closing ceremony of CubeDesign / 2021 was held with all the teams from all categories and had the (virtual) presence of coordinators from INPE and other institutions, as well as technology companies and supporters. In total there were about 150 participants, 18 of which were ArtSat teams. The participants of the competition were from several states in Brazil and many countries in Latin America. The video of the awards can be seen on CubeDesign’s youtube channel (12).

    We consider the competition of high quality due to the generosity of the CubeDesign organization team, the attention given to the ArtSat category, the quality of the ArtSat’s works, and the performance of the advisor’s group. Our intention is to maintain the ArtSat category in this competition for the next years.

    Workshops of ArtSat (PGETE/INPE – 2020/2021)

    ArtSat as a new category of CubeDesign has opened a new demand for our space art and culture program: to build an ArtSat development workshop, even to guarantee that there will be Brazilian participation in CubeDesign competitions and other satellite competitions. But it is not only about teaching how to build a technical object in the form of an artistic satellite. It is also about creating a conceptual work that enlarges the cultural spectrum that involves the artifact, giving conditions for a wide range of possibilities, based on global historical references, geopolitical and astropolitical discussions related to both art and space science, fomenting debates about space law, contemporary art, international circuit of art and technology, economic systems behind satellite technology, and so on. We apply the criteria developed in our curatorial line to make critical, political, ethical, ecological, philosophical and aesthetic thinking flourish. Our mission is to further the flourishing of transdisciplinary languages, to enhance the creativity of the workshops by bringing in experienced guests to talk about their projects, coordinators of space science institutes, curators from various countries, organizers of art and technology festivals, and artists who have already sent works into space.

    Space art and culture in Brazil: Three years of activities at the National Institute for Space Research (Fabiane M. Borges, September 2022)

    The II Workshop of ArtSat / 2020 encouraged greater participation from the Latin American public. The reason is obvious: We share similar interests and difficulties. It serves as a socio-technological investment in regional Space Culture, which seeks above all to bring together the common interests of various groups from different countries in order to foster the production of a singular space art-science, which does not submit indiscriminately to the polarizing discourses of the great space programs, or the great Art and Science programs, which centralize financial and media resources overshadowing the initiatives of developing countries. If we enter the new Space Race bringing with freedom a Latin, tropical space culture, producing the equatorial perspectivist technodiversity, won’t we be contributing more effectively to the international community? In other words, there are discursive and technological components that are unique and non-transferable from their local value, that can be of great value to the world. However, conditions must be created to facilitate these characteristics to appear.

    Latin America needs to develop research, technoscientific production and a singular space art/culture, that express its geopolitical condition, with its emerging, indigenized, africanized, miscegenated countries, to be capable of creating from its own complexity. The Workshops of ArtSat have a mission to encourage technodiversity. This represents an advance for the thought and production of Latin American art and science, because we want to cooperate in the formation of people that understands the place that Latin American countries occupy in contemporary astropolitics and should occupy in the next steps of the new space race.

    Space art and culture in Brazil: Three years of activities at the National Institute for Space Research (Fabiane M. Borges, September 2022)
    Space art and culture in Brazil: Three years of activities at the National Institute for Space Research (Fabiane M. Borges, September 2022)

    Building an ArtSat, with Lázaro Camargo (INPE)

    Workshop of ArtSat at INPE / 2020 (13)

    The I Workshop of ArtSat at INPE was a 40 hours course focused on art and space culture, organized as follows: 1) workshop for building satellites (ArtSat), executed by the electronic engineer Lázaro Camargo, and 2) presentation of artistic and theoretical works about the art/space science theme, curated by the author of this text, which had the participation of Italo Pinto Rodrigues representing CubeDesign. It had about thirty-five presentations of artistic and scientific research with guests from various places of Brazil and the world (14). In the end four teams were formed (15): 1) Team Antigenik Lab y Navalha Sat by Urutau Maria Pinto y “Antigenik Lab”, 2) Team Caipora-Sat by Alejandra Carolina Labarca Puelles, Ada Grecia Arenas sanchez and Yeté Abunã Marques Labarca, 3) Team ART. Rocket / SOLARSCAPES by Carolina Mattos Schundt, Ricardo Palmieri and Victor Valentim, 4) Team Inumeráveis / Livro da Vida – a memorial pocketQube – by Edson Pavoni, Pedro Kaled and Roberta Savian. The latter participated in the CubeDesign competition in the ArtSat category and took first place, and now in September 2022 launches its ArtSat into space, through Space X.

    Space art and culture in Brazil: Three years of activities at the National Institute for Space Research (Fabiane M. Borges, September 2022)
    Space art and culture in Brazil: Three years of activities at the National Institute for Space Research (Fabiane M. Borges, September 2022)

    The four projects of ArtSat of the four different times organized in the I workshop of ArtSat at INPE / 2020

    Workshop of ArtSat at INPE / 2021 (16)

    The II Workshop of ArtSat at INPE, as the first workshop, was a 40-hour course focused on space art and culture, organized as follows: 1) workshop for the construction of satellites (ArtSat), executed by the electronic engineer Lázaro Camargo and 2) Presentation of artistic and theoretical works on the theme of art/space science, under the curatorship of the author of this text, which had about 10 theoretical debates (17) from the Latin American perspective, with guest speakers from countries such as Mexico, Ecuador, Colombia, Chile, Bolivia and from Brazilian states such as Amazonas, Pará, Rio Grande do Norte and São Paulo. 3) An open call for the creation of an album of space music, made only for Latin American musicians. In the end a single cross-disciplinary team with 10 members called ARATUSAT. Aratu means a mangrove crab, which is used in the project as a reference to the manguebit movement that brings together Pernambuco’s regional culture with electronic music, plus aspects critical to globalization. ArtSat’s mission is to create a model for reading space debris and transform them into artistic readings, but with the data released. The team consists of 10 members: Arad Walsh, Enzo Garabito, Fernanda Neves, Isabella Fernanda, Lino Divas, Luciana de Paula Santos, Núbia de Moura Borges, Pitter Gabriel Maciel Rocha, Sidney Monteiro Jr. For those who want to get to know the project, access the SACI-E website (18).

    Space art and culture in Brazil: Three years of activities at the National Institute for Space Research (Fabiane M. Borges, September 2022)
    Space art and culture in Brazil: Three years of activities at the National Institute for Space Research (Fabiane M. Borges, September 2022)

    The AratuSat, the unique artsat project of the time of the II Workshop of ArtSat at INPE/ 2021

    First Album of Latin American Cosmic Sounds (19)

    We took advantage of the structure of the II ArtSat Workshop at INPE to launch an open call for the creation of the First Album of Latin American Cosmic Sounds. It was focused entirely on Latin American musical artists. The main theme of the album was “Latin America in the future of space occupations”. The theme gave us the opportunity to contribute to the construction of an imaginary spatial sound repertoire, gathering practices and poetics that represent the diversity of sound production and the local specificities of some Latin American countries. Compositions that explore the relationship between scientific data and sonification were considered in the Album. This data could be extracted from artifacts such as satellites, probes, antennas, telescopes, remote sensing techniques or other space equipment from any country, or from previously produced sound materials. Data and image sonification, electromagnetic interferences, programming, computer engineering, circuit-bending, arduino, scores and graphic notations were used in the compositions. We emphasized that the sound proposal should relate technique, concept and poetics, articulating the material with the theme of the album and with the issues surrounding environmental and climate changes, atmospheric pollution and spatial occupation.

    Space art and culture in Brazil: Three years of activities at the National Institute for Space Research (Fabiane M. Borges, September 2022)
    Space art and culture in Brazil: Three years of activities at the National Institute for Space Research (Fabiane M. Borges, September 2022)

    The album (Design of Lino Divas)

    “The collection covers different practices and techniques of sound creation, such as electroacoustic and noise music, sound collage, field recording, different approaches to sonification of data and images, improvisation, creation of instruments to capture electromagnetic waves that are converted into sound. The set instigates by presenting a diverse aesthetic picture of sound speculations of the cosmos through the sound memory of space missions, records of electromagnetic manifestations, sonification of scientific data from space program archives, solar activity and rain flow. The compilation is a cosmic cross between art, science, technology, speculative fiction, and sound. This mix activates the listener’s cosmoperception to the vibrations of the invisible, the noise that runs through us. The cosmic sonorities are a journey where we embark on a nomadic experience through space enveloped by one of the engines. They make us feel the warmth of the electromagnetic waves of solar winds in the glowing sunset, which burn away the remnants of the expanded voices of human experience. The sidereal sonic experience is a continuum from the silence of the vacuum to the subtle vibration of the meteor, the life force, the axé of the celestial body. It relays, re-reads, revises, reactivates the imagery and imagination of the dimensions and forces of Space; it sonifies the vision of science and allows us to read images in their smallest parts, bits, pixels and frames, creating movement. Thus, we dance solar data in Afro-indigenous Atlantic beats and revisit the first science, the science of rhythm, the one that shapes time. The effect of time is fluid, it dilates and contracts, flows like the waters in 100 years within 3 minutes. Sound, as the ontology of a world, allows us to touch the invisible, greet the sub-atomic, and echo into eternity, aligned with the stars, undead satellites, and alien nature (20).

    For the realization of the album we invited the brazilian artist, musician and second artistic resident of INPE, Pitter Rocha, to share the curatorship with the author of this text, and the Argentinean artist Lino Divas to do the graphic design. The album Latin American Cosmic Sonorities brings together 13 sound compositions by 19 artist-scientists from 6 countries (Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Mexico, and Uruguay). Its purpose was to deflate the Latin American imaginary about the cosmos, thus constituting a spatial sound occupation allied to the multiplicity of cultures and musical styles of this group of countries. The selection was made through an open call, with the following provocations: What is the role of Latin America in Space Occupations? What contribution can it make to global space thinking from its specific singularity? The album is the result of these provocations. The tracks were chosen through curation and two guest jurors: Tatiana Cuoco (Argentina) and María Ignacia Edwards (Chile).

    List of artists and the songs of the Album of Latin American Cosmic Sounds
    1 – SPACE NOMADS – Jorge Barco (CO) – 6’18”
    2- Ocaso – Telmo Cristovam (BR) – 6”
    3- Cosmic Scraps – Ariane Stolfi (BR) – 6’30”
    4 – Sideral – Gilberto Esparza and Marcela Armas in collaboration with Diego Liedo and Daniel Llermaly (MX) – 6’5”
    5 – re:transmission – Henrique Roscoe (BR) – 6’38”’
    6 – Solar Wave – A1219 and Flávia Goa (BR) – 2021, 4’20”
    7 – Pluvia (Meditation about Precipitation and Temperature Brazilian Data Sonification from 1901 – 2020 ) – Viktor Stargazer (BR) – 3’42”
    8 – Tocando Lo Invisible – Isaac Medina y Mariana Paredes (MX) – 4’2”
    9 – Bön – Fill (AR) – 4’30”’
    10 – Diamagnetism – Bella (BR) – 6’21”’
    11 – Jupiter Saturn conjunction through the waves emitted by a zombie satellite – Brian Mackern (UY) – 8’21”’
    12 – Moon in Juno – Pedro Diaz and Alexandre Beraldo (BR) – 6’27”
    13 – Naturaleza Alien Homocosmicusfungi – José Luis Jácome Guerrero (EC) – 10’36”’

    Plutocracy on Pluto, summer course focused on astropolitics (21)

    Plutocracy is a system of government where only the wealthy have the legal right to exercise political control. It is a regime where the class that dominates the means of production, circulation, and distribution of wealth is the same class that determines the fate of the earthly populations. An example of this is the operating model of the technology corporations known as Big Techs, which spread across all continents of the planet determining social relations and using as capital, user data on a global level. When we talk about Plutocracy on Pluto we are making a double provocation, which is to question the forms of power and control on Earth and also in Space. We ask ourselves whether the worldviews that are at stake in the New Space Race, with all its projects for military weaponry, production of space technology, artificial intelligence and mining of celestial bodies (such as the Moon, Mars and asteroids) will serve only to empower the plutocracy from the acceleration of the modes of domination of the solar system by a few corporate conglomerates, or whether we are facing a new possibility of creating a future that will also allow the transportation of the multiplicity of world views, different perspectives of the world and biodiversity that characterizes, in principle, the planet Earth. In other words, through this new space opportunity, will collaboration between peoples be more determining than competition between large corporations, or are we only reinforcing with more sophisticated models the hierarchy and discrepancy between rich and poor peoples? Plutocracy on Pluto was a course in astropolitics, geopolitical positioning, that helped us map out the interests behind current space projects, be they military, industrial, commercial, or scientific. It is also a study of the imaginaries that cross this new frontier. We want to zoom in on the utopias, dystopias, philosophical, speculative, artistic imaginaries, and on the science fictions that have been produced by means of this space dilemma, to better visualize the aesthetics of the future that are being produced in this context of climate change and space occupation.

    Space art and culture in Brazil: Three years of activities at the National Institute for Space Research (Fabiane M. Borges, September 2022)

    Plutocracy on Pluto was a geopolitics course focused on space issues. It was held from January 24 to 28, 2022, in a virtual form, with intensive meetings in the mornings and afternoons. The course dealt with political issues, economic and legal multilateral interests of the state and private sectors that configure the “new space”. From the perspective of art and space culture, topics such as colonies on the Moon and Mars, mining the celestial stars, utopias and dystopias of space programs, and the subjective constructs that accompany such themes were addressed. Futuristic and aesthetic imaginaries were brought through the point of view of curators, philosophers, entrepreneurs, artists, scientists, natives, astronomers, engineers, and others. We consider the knowledge of geopolitics to be extremely important for training in the sectors of space art and culture, so that students can understand space projects in depth and be able to evaluate the forces at play in the current process of expansion towards the solar system. In all, there were 18 specialists in the fields of space art, science, and technology, with about 90 students enrolled. We consider the course to be excellent because of its boldness and creativity. Working with such complex themes as space geopolitics in a transdisciplinary way and with the bias of the great philosophical sets that guide the space art and culture places this course in the international state of the art. The quality of the lectures, the multiculturalism of the speakers, the perspective of the global south in the face of the whole New Space scene, the depth with which the themes were discussed and the attention given by the registrants makes us consider the course worthy of continuation.

    Space art and culture in Brazil: Three years of activities at the National Institute for Space Research (Fabiane M. Borges, September 2022)


    In terms of comparison with other international space programs, we deduce that the four projects developed at INPE so far are in line with the state of the art in the area of space art and culture. We consider this projects innovative and excellent in terms of results, shared technologies and conceputalization. The projects are complying with the curatorial line to which we propose ourselves that seeks originality, authenticity and cultural diversity. Para comprovar isso, usamos como exemplo os trabalhos finais das oficinas ArtSats, que, além de serem feitas por meio de equipes transdisciplinares que se organizam dentro da própria oficina, trazem em sua missão, propostas que condizem com a linha curatorial do nosso programa, como como o CaiporaSat/2020, que como projeto pretende trabalhar com sensoriamento remoto em regiões de reservas indígenas, ou o NavalhaSat/2020, que apesar de ainda não ter desenvolvido totalmente o satélite, tem uma equipe formada apenas por travestis, ou o AratuSat/2021 que é baseado no ancestrofuturismo (ancestralidade e imaginações futurísticas) trazendo como missão do ArtSat registrar dados e imagens de lixo espacial da baixa órbita terrestre (LEO – Low Earth Orbit) para produzir trabalhos com esses dados de arte e exibi-los, realizando assim apropriações e reconfigurações, na tentativa de sensibilizar e aproximar as pessoas de uma questão tão urgente que é o lixo espacial. With these few examples we can verify that there is a correspondence between the curatorial interests and the production of ArtSats, and this means that we are opening a significant transdisciplinary line.

    Finally, we emphasize that the developed projects can be replicated and deepened to the extent that they have more institutional support both in terms of internal and external recognition of INPE, which can only happen through dissemination, translation, publication and exchanges. In 2022 and 2023, both the ArtSat Workshop, the summer course and the record production could be part of the Space Studies Program (SSP) of the International Space University (ISU), which may come to be held in Brazil under the coordination of INPE, the Instituto Tecnológico de Aeronáutica (ITA) and the Prefeitura de São José dos Campos. It is also possible to be presented in international meetings such as the ITACCUS / IAF (Committee for the Cultural Utilization of Space of the International Astronautical Federation), besides being possible to start a series of exchanges with research centers in art and space culture in countries of Europe, North America, India, Russia and China, research centers in Latin America and countries of the Global South.


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    BORGES, Fabiane M. “Na busca da cultura espacial” (tese de doutorado). PUC/SP, 2013;
    BORGES, Fabiane M. Extremophilia ou 6º número da revista Das Questões, UNB/DF, 2018;
    BORGES, Fabiane M. “Arte Espacial – Cultura Espacial – Artes e Ciências Espaciais”, Ed. Circuito. UFRJ/RJ, 2017.
    BUREAUD, Annick. A beautiful name for a satellite*Satellites artistiques. Objets d’art paradoxaux, entre politique et poétique. Revista Das Questões n#6, Setembro/Dezembro 2018. Dossie Extremophilia. Organização Fabiane M. Borges.
    BURGESS, Lowry; GOODS, Dan; HAWWKINS, Isabel; LISOWSKY, Lorelei; PIETRONIGRO Frank. “The Arts and Space Culture: The Common Ground of Creativity”. Zero Gravity Arts Consortium, 12/2005
    BUTTLER, E. Octavia. “Lilith’s Brood” Complete Xenogenesis.. Ed. Grand Central Publishing. EUA, 2000
    CASTRO, Eduardo Viveiros de. Os pronomes cosmológicos e o perspectivismo ameríndio. Mana [online]. 1996, vol.2, n.2.
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    DEAN. D. James; ULRICH, Bertram. (Smithsonian Institution; Traveling Exhibition Service; National Air and Space Museum; National Aeronautics and Space Administration EUA) ” NASA/art : 50 years of exploration”. Ed. New York: Abrams: in association with NASA and Smithsonian Institution, 2008
    DELEUZE, G. (1969/1982) A lógica do sentido. São Paulo: Perspectiva.
    DOMINGUES, Diana. “A Arte no Século XXI – A Humanização das Tecnologias” – Ed. UNESP. São Paulo, 1997. “Sky Art Conference-86”, que conectou via slow scan o Center for Advanced Visual Studies, do Massachusetts Institute of Technology (CAVS) e artistas de São Paulo, através da ECA-USP.
    GALEANO, Eduardo. Las Venas Abiertas de América Latina. 52º Edición. Siglo Veintiuno Argentina Editores Ediciones. 1988.
    GEPPERT, Alexander C.T. Imagining Outer Space: European Astroculture in the Twentieth Century. United Kingdom: Palgrave Macmillan, 2012.
    GEPPERT, Alexander C. T. “Flights of Fancy: Outer Space and the European Imagination, 1927-1969”. In: Societal Impact of Spaceflight (editores: Steven J. Dick e Roger D. Launius). EUA: NASA, 2007
    GRIFFIN Joanna, “Moon Vehicle: Reflections from an Artist-Led Children’s Workshop on the Chandrayaan-A Spacecraft’s Mission to the Moon”, Leonardo, Vol45, n°3, pp. 219-224, 2012, Cambridge, MIT Press
    GRIFFIN, Joanna. “Creative resistance and satellite imaginaries”- Revista Das Questões n#6, Setembro/Dezembro 2018. Dossiê Extremøphilia. Organização Fabiane M. Borges.
    HARAWAY, Donna. Situated Knowledges: The Science Question in Feminism and the Privilege of Partial Perspective – Source: Feminist Studies, Vol. 14, No. 3 (Autumn, 1988)
    HAUPT, Tracee. “The NASA Art Program: Technology, Art, and Contested Visions of Progress, 1962-1973”; Quest – The history of Spaceflight – Quarterly – Volume 24 • Number 1 2017.
    HUI, Yuk. The Question Concerning Technology in China – Essay in Cosmotechnics. Ed. Urbanomic, 2016.
    KILGORE, Douglas De Witt. Astrofuturism: Science, Race, and Visions of Utopia in Space. Pennsylvania: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2003
    KILGORE, De Witt Douglas: “C/SETI as Fiction: On James Gunn’s The Listeners” do livro: “Societal Impact of Spaceflight” editado por Steven J. Dick and Roger D. Launius. NASA, Washington, Dc -2007
    KULACKI, Gregory and LEWIS, Jeffrey G. (2009). A Place for One’s Mat: China’s Space Program, 1956–2003. Publicado pela American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
    LAND, Nick. “Fanged Noumena” Collected Writings 1987-2007. Ed. Urbanomic. 3º Edition , UK. 2014
    LEE Soo-jin, WOHN Kwang-yun, “The Media-Art Exhibition Ten YearsAfter-v4.0-OuterSpace”, Leonardo, Vol.41, n°5, pp. 454-459, 2008
    MACHADO, Arlindo. Máquina e Imaginário, O desafio das Poéticas Tecnológicas. Texto: Máquina e Imaginário. Pág. 30. 3. ed. – São Paulo: Editora da Universidade de São Paulo, 1º ed. 1993
    MALINA Frank J., On the Visual Fine Arts in the Space Age, Leonardo,Vol.3, pp.323-325, 1970
    MALINA Roger, “The Cultural Dimension of Space Exploration”, Editorial, Leonardo, Vol. 25, n°1, pp. 1-2, 1992, Oxford, Pergamon Press
    MANN, Adam. What Is The Dream Of Chinese Spaceflight? Publicado no medium.com em 10/10/2017.https://medium.com/@adammann93...
    FRENAIS, Rob La. and CHARDRONNET, “Ewen. Space Without Rockets”. 2022. UV. Edition.
    ROLNIK, Suely. Esferas da Insurreição, notas para uma vida não cafetinada. Editora N-1, 2018. © n-1 edições, 2018.
    ROTH Tim Otto, “Cosmic Revelation”, Leonardo, Vol.42, n°3, pp.288-289, 2009
    ROTH Tim Otto, “From the Distant Past”, Leonardo, Vol. 46, n°5, pp. 492-493, MIT Press, 2013
    SAGAN, Carl; SALZMAN, Sagan Linda; DRAKE, Frank. – “A Message from Earth” – Source: Science, New Series, Vol. 175, No. 4024 (Feb. 25, 1972), pp. 881-884 – Published by: American Association for the Advancement of Science
    WOODS, Arthur. “Art to the Stars: An Astronautical Perspective on the Arts and Space”. Ars Astronautica, 11/2018. Disponível em: https://www.arsastronautica.co... stars.php


    1. Cfe. Galeano, Eduardo. Open Veins of Latin America. Translated by C. Belfrage, Monthly Review Press, 1996. Page 15 to 90 //// Original: Cfe. GALEANO, Eduardo. Las Venas Abiertas de América Latina. 52º Edición. Siglo Veintiuno Argentina Editores Ediciones. 1988.
    2. Cfe. Haraway, Donna. (2009). Localized knowledges: the question of science for feminism and the privilege of the partial perspective. Cadernos Pagu, (5), 7-41. Retrieved from https://periodicos.sbu.unicamp... . Original article published in Feminist Studies, 13 (3), 1988, translated with the permission of Feminist Studies, Inc., c/o Women’s Studies Program, University of Maryland, College Park, MD 20742. (…) “I am arguing for politics and epistemologies of allocation, positioning, and situation in which partiality rather than universality is the condition of being heard in the propositions to be made of rational knowledge. These are proposals regarding people’s lives; the view from a body, always a complex, contradictory, structuring and structured body, versus the view from above, from nowhere, of simplism. Only the trick of god is forbidden. Here is a criterion for deciding the question of science in militarism, this science/technology dream of perfect language, perfect communication, final order.” (…) “It seems clear that feminist versions of objectivity and embodiment-that is, of a world-of the kind outlined here require a deceptively simple maneuver within Western analytic traditions, a maneuver that began with dialectics but stopped before the necessary revisions. Localized knowledges require that the object of knowledge be seen as an actor and agent, not as a screen, or a terrain, or a resource, and finally never as a slave to the master who encloses the dialectic only in his agency and his authority of “objective” knowledge. The observation is paradigmatically clear in critical approaches to the social sciences and humanities, in which the very agency of the people studied transforms the entire project of social theory production.”
    3. Departments of INPE (National Institute for Space Research): PGETE (Program Post-Graduation on space engineering and technology // COEPE (Coordination of Teaching, Research and Extension) and DIEXC (Extension and Training Division) – https://www.gov.br/inpe/pt-br
    4. First artist in residence at INPE \ Karina Karim\ 2019 – Under academic supervision of Walter Abrahão dos Santos and curated by Fabiane M. Borges. (Accessed on 07/17/2022)
    5. Second artist in residence at INPE \ Pitter Rocha \ 2020 – Under academic supervision of Walter Abrahão dos Santos and curated by Fabiane M. Borges. (Accessed on 07/17/2022)
    6. Presentation of the results of Karina Karim and Pitter Rocha’s artistic residencies at INPE’s I ArtSat Workshop (Accessed on 07/17/2022)
    7. Third artist in residence at INPE \ Zander Porter \ 2022 – Under academic supervision of Paulo Escada and curated by Fabiane M. Borges. (Accessed on 07/17/2022)
    8. For more on artistic satellites and artsats, see the text by: Bureaud, Annick: A beautiful name for a satellite*Satellites artistiques. Objets d’art paradoxaux, entre politique et poétique. And Griffin, Joanna: Creative resistance and satellite imaginaries. Both articles are published in Das Questões Magazine n#6, September/December 2018. Dossier Extremøphilia. Organized by Fabiane M. Borges. (Accessed on 07/17/2022)
    9. To see how a Cubedesign competition is organized at INPE, see the text “CubeDesign: A Comprehensive Competition for Space Engineering Training in Latin America”. By Walter A. Dos Santos, Jenny C. R. Asencio, Eduardo E. Burger, Lazaro A.P. Camargo, Christopher S. Cerqueira, Jeanne Lima, Herbi J. P. Moreira, Daniel Nono(1), Mateus Oliveira(1), Italo P. Rodrigues(1), Felipe O. Tavares, Auro Tikami, and Plinio I. G. Tenório. Or see event page. (All links were accessed in 09/07/2022).
    10. To create the Artsat category we had to have a series of meetings with some members of the CubeDesign organization group like Ítalo Pinto Rodrigues, Ricardo Maurício Ferreira and André Ferreira Teixeira, under the guidance of Prof. Eng. Walter Abrahão dos Santos, to adapt the CubeSat evaluation criteria to ArtSat, decide the requirements for the ArtSat mission, define the tests and applications, as well as logos, social network calls, publications design, among others. http://www.inpe.br/cubedesign/...
    11. Complete material for the CubeDesign 2021 ArtSat Category. Open call in Portuguese. Complete rules for the CubeDesign 2021 ArtSat Category- ArtSat Projects submitted for CubeDesign/ 2021: Book of Life & The Shape in Space. (All links were accessed on 07/17/2022)
    12. The video of the awards can be seen on CubeDesign’s youtube channel (Accessed in 08/09/2022)
    13. See open call: Portuguese – English. Call with the entire program of the ArtSat technical and theoretical course – with Lázaro Camargo and Fabiane M. Borges + guests Videos of the complete ArtSat technical course – with Lázaro Camargo. Videos of the complete theoretical course on Space Art and Culture – With Fabiane M. Borges + guests. (All links were accessed on 07/13/2022)
    14. See First Workshop of ArtSat at INPE at SACI-E website. (accessed in 18/07/2022).
    15. To see the teams of the ArtSats projects, access the SACI-E website. To access the complete material with all the schedule for the 1st INPE/2020 ArtSat Workshop. To access the contents of the lectures. (All links accessed on 07/18/2022)
    16. Complete material with all the programming of the Second Workshop of ArtSat at INPE.
      Open call in Portuguese/Spanish. Open call at SACIE website – Program “Building an ArtSat” with Lázaro Camargo. Program of the Art/Space Culture Debates. (All links accessed 18/07/2022)
    17. See the Second Workshop of ArtSat at INPE at SACI-E’s website. (accessed in 18/07/2022)
    18. To learn more about the ArtSat ARATUSAT project, access the SACI-E website. (Accessed on 06/18/2022)
    19. To access the “Latin American Cosmic Sonorities” Album, see the SACI-E website. /// To watch the release of the Album.
      (Links accessed on 07/18/2022) Organization: SACI-E/INPE. Curator and Organization: Fabiane M. Borges and Pitter Rocha Graphic Art: Lino Divas. Jurors: Tatiana Cuoco (Argentina) and María Ignacia Edwards (Chile), Realization: INPE (National Institute for Space Research); Support: DIVERSITAS/FFLCH/USP.
    20. Cfe. Borges. Fabiane, M. and Rocha, Pitter. Curatorial text of the album “Latin American Cosmic Sonorities”. Check on SACI-E. (Accessed on 07/14/2022)
    21. The videos of the lectures can be accessed on the SACI-E (Subjectivity, Art and Space Science) blog.
      Open call for Plutocracy on Pluto in Portuguese. In English. Schedule of the debates. (All links were accessed on 07/14/2022)

    Disclaimer: This is the perspective adopted by researcher Fabiane M. Borges during the period in which she worked in the implementation of art and space culture projects at INPE, but this narrative is personal and does not represent the National Institute of Space Research or the current Federal Government of Brazil.

  • More-than-Planet: Remote sensing and habitability (Annick Bureaud, August 2022)

    Inaugurating an ambitious three-year program, the More-than-Planet exhibition is now on view at the Old Observatory of Leiden (Netherlands) though December 31, 2022.

    Summer 2022 was marked on one hand by images from the James Webb space telescope – gazing out at the infinity of stars – and on the other by satellite images of forest fires or aerial shots following a symbolic cargo of grains crossing the Black Sea – observation of the Earth. Between “star gazing” and “remote sensing”, one of our most pressing challenges is habitability – of our planet, potentially of other planets, of the cosmos in our ongoing quest for traces of life. Quests for knowledge and survival are inextricably intertwined.

    How to describe and draw the portrait of a planet? Through its geology, its place in a galaxy, its biosphere, its resources, its infrastructures, its atmosphere, and many more approaches. What kinds of fantasies come into play? Scientific, mythological, poetic, of exploration and conquest, exploitation, even irrational conspiracies such as Flat Earth and many others.

    Embracing this complexity, the More-than-Planet project aims to dialectically confront two views that are sometimes opposed: the desire for extra-terrestrial space and taking into account the Earth as a global living system. More-than-Planet examines each of these views through the other, in a comprehension-apprehension of Earth through Space and of Space through our planet.

    In a symbolic, perhaps involuntary gesture, the first More-than-Planet exhibition opened on July 1 and extends through December 31 in Leiden, in the world’s oldest active university observatory, established in 1633 and situated in the Hortus Botanicus, the Netherlands’ oldest botanical garden, created in 1590. These two institutions have hosted the most illustrious scholars in their respective disciplines, along with the evolution of knowledge, beliefs and perspectives over centuries.

    The way in which we draw the portrait of our planet is crucial in regard to the current issues surrounding Earth and Space, as well as our responses to them, as objects of political, ideological and representational confrontations. Miha Tursič and Waag Futurelab in Amsterdam, the curators of this exhibition, have chosen to focus on remote sensing and telepresence: remote observation of the Earth and a mediatized perception that is augmented by space technologies. The five works presented in More-than-Planet are screen-based installations. Three of them could be qualified as activist artworks.

    Sensible zone

    By now it’s a cliché to say that the Earth is primarily covered in seas and oceans. Yet their role in the planetary system and the impact that climate change has on them is barely perceptible to us. Oceans and Earth are linked. Territorial Agency’s Sensible Zone targets this narrow stretch – from less than 200 to more than 200 meters – where water and land meet, a zone that is fragile and sensible to the slightest disturbance. Based on various scientific data, Territorial Agency created an installation composed of vertical screens that scroll various dynamic visualizations of the current state of predicted disasters. With its icy and seductive esthetic, this work is still a bit difficult to understand without the complement of an outside explanation.

    More-than-Planet: Remote sensing and habitability (Annick Bureaud, August 2022)

    Traces of the Anthropocene in the Pacific Ocean: data on fishing and transshipment near the Nazca-Desventuradas marine park off the coasts of Chile. © Territorial Agency

    Asunder by Tega Brain, Bengt Sjölén and Julian Oliver is in some ways the counterpoint of Sensible Zone, or its next phase. What are the solutions for mitigating the scale of climate change? Ask an AI for help. Add to it a dose of satellite images, a climate simulator, and Machine Learning techniques to produce images – the result is fictional scenarios, which theoretically allow for adapted responses that are in reality largely absurd and unfeasible. Asunder’s tech-savvy esthetic traps viewers into paying it no more than superficial attention, a bit like experts and promoters of a greeting by a technology that hasn’t been invented yet.

    More-than-Planet: Remote sensing and habitability (Annick Bureaud, August 2022)

    Asunder, by Tega Brain, Bengt Sjölén and Julian Oliver © Annick Bureaud

    What’s the difference between an artistic work and a documentary used for a court trial? Nothing, in the case of If toxic air is a monument to slavery, how do we take it down?. Forensic Architecture’s video essay presents an undeniably high quality of visual writing, going beyond what might seem like fascination for the scientific images of the previous projects. Weaving together what the human eye sees and captures with instrumental images and testimonies from relevant people, the film repositions humans and life at the center of the narrative. The humans in question are the victims and perpetrators – in the past, of slavery, and in the present, of industrial chemical pollution. In Louisiana, along the Mississippi River, on a territory of former sugar cane plantations, now stands a “Petrochemical Corridor” of factories making the air in that zone among the most toxic in the United States.

    Watch If toxic air is a monument to slavery, how do we take it down? trailer on Vimeo

    Sand, from Kuwait to Mars

    The two other works in the exhibition, while also making use or reference to space technologies, distinguish themselves from the others’ more direct eco-political approach. They also include tangible objects alongside the videos.

    Our dear GPS, which helps us to find our way through the tortuous streets of Venice or elsewhere, is also a useful war instrument. A Space War Monument was created by Dani Ploeger for the Kuwait Pavilion at the Venice Architecture Biennale to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the end of the first Gulf War (1990-91). This war has also been called “The First Space War”, during which space technologies were widely deployed. Ploeger confronts the image of this quasi-abstract “technological war” with the reality of the field, which is hardly as clean. His resulting “land art” is a 100-square-meter area of sand in the desert created by a GPS-controlled bulldozer – an ephemeral monument that attempts to erase all traces of the dead, mines and weapons.

    A very short video documents the construction of the piece. But can we be sure of what the images really show? Claiming to be set in the Kuwaitian desert, this Monument was actually built on a European beach. Very real, on the other hand, are the tangible traces: two small squares framed on the wall. One is made from sand sampled from the battlefield in Kuwait, the other with a gold leaf. These objects, almost insignificant when compared with the imposing technological and war machinery, reveal themselves as contemporary monuments to the dead.

    More-than-Planet: Remote sensing and habitability (Annick Bureaud, August 2022)

    Dani Ploeger with a Caterpillar D6 bulldozer controlled by GPS. DR Space War Monument

    More-than-Planet: Remote sensing and habitability (Annick Bureaud, August 2022)

    © Annick Bureaud

    More-than-Planet: Remote sensing and habitability (Annick Bureaud, August 2022)

    © Annick Bureaud

    On Earth, we can always go and check. At least that’s what we think, with this feeling of knowing the far reaches of the planet through the constant stream of photos, illustrations, models and representations that surround us. But on Mars? On Mars we rely on a mediatized perception that both reduces our senses to a single eye and augments our field of vision to the spectrum covered by these instruments. Minna Långström invites us to embark on this journey with her magnificent and masterful installation Photons of Mars.

    More-than-Planet: Remote sensing and habitability (Annick Bureaud, August 2022)

    Photons of Mars, Minna Långström, 2019. © Annick Bureaud

    On three big screens, she juxtaposes images of Mars: shot from rovers within the spectrum of human vision by high-definition cameras; shot by several different scientific instruments on board; captured by the control center and the cockpit of the rovers, with allusions to the fictional images that fill our imaginations. These three simple screens placed in a row are more relevant than any virtual reality set-up: we are on Mars. This little corner of the planet becomes just as familiar to us as to the pilots of the rovers or to the scientists who scrutinize and analyze it day after day. Like them, we inhabit the substitute bodies and seeing machines of the rovers, we are telepresent on Mars. No doubt the similiarities between Earth and Mars facilitate this sensation, but it’s especially the artist’s visual composition, the strength of the poetry and the strangeness that paradoxally give the red planet a real density.

    More-than-Planet: Remote sensing and habitability (Annick Bureaud, August 2022)

    “Jake Matijevic” Martian rock, Photons of Mars, Minna Långström © Annick Bureaud

    Photons of Mars is accompanied by a sculpture, that of the Martian rock nicknamed “Jake Matijevic” as a tribute to the engineer and mathematician who played an important role in creating the Curiosity rover, and who died just a few days before its landing on Mars. Displayed in a case opposite the video installation, it appears to be an ancient artifact exhibited in a museum, that we recognize, without really knowing it. Here begins our responsibility toward the planet Mars. What will we do with it?

    Ever since we learned about B612, the home asteroid of The Little Prince, we know that inhabiting celestial bodies is not easy, and that these can be fragile. There is no Planet B, and we are debating if it is desirable. Meanwhile, one thing is certain: we must reconsider the multitude of imaginary environments in relation to our planet Earth, considered as a conceptual whole.