CMET UGENT, X-Lab UHasselt, BOZAR, European Astronaut Center, HOWEST
For many years the exploration of space and colonizing distant planets has been the domain of science fiction. As we are confronted with increasing global challenges, we’re now entering a race to colonize and terraform the universe. In recent years, more and more companies have shown their interest in the exploration of space and terraformation. Companies like Virgin Galactic and Space-X are taking the first steps towards space transport and tourism. The rise of ‘astrobiology’ lead to the discovery of countless new planets that would allow extraterrestrial life.
Lately more and more artists are also focusing on space exploration and terraformation. From their artistic practice, artists contribute to space research in various ways. They ask profoundly human and ontological questions and reflect critically on the origins of new technologies, their objectives and impact on society. Artists also reflect on the political impact and the need for a sustainable regulation. Does the current privatization of space travel by silicon valley tech giants fuel the arrival of space industry in the solar system? Why are activities such as space mining not prohibited? Because of their extraterrestrial location? How can scientific research and rapidly evolving technologies that enable interstellar life also provide new insights and alternatives for our life on Earth? These are just a few of the many interesting questions and critical perspectives that artists generate in this regard.
To this end, and with the support of the Ministry of Culture of Flanders, GLUON launched the Orbit Space program. Orbit Space is a multi-year project that explores the universe, reflects on sustainable eco-systems for distant planets, uses the material of carbon nanotubes as a metaphor for the beginning and end of the universe, examines closed biological systems for future scenarios and questions the role of humans in space etc. This artistic project is being developed in collaboration with artists Angelo Vermeulen (BE, ° 1971), Frederik De Wilde (BE, ° 1975) and Ivan Henriques (BR, ° 1978). They were invited by Gluon to collaborate with renown researchers from Belgian and international universities, companies and research institutions for the realization of a new work.
The aim of this project is to sharpen public awareness and debate through new developments in space research and to realize works of art that not only use technology and science, but also reflect critically on the origins of these technologies, their objectives and their possible impact on society.
During the development process public lectures by the participating artists and scientists will be organized and from July – September 2019 all the resulting artworks will come together in an exhibition at the BOZAR Lab in Brussels.