Off the Orbit: Works of Art for Long-Term Space Travellers. Outline of a novel artistic practice~EMBARGOEDuntil01122012
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This research combines the arts with human spaceflight. The aim of the investigation is to identify the aesthetic parameters for display in works of art on extended crewed missions. The study claims that, within the research area of human spaceflight, novel working methods should be developed that can integrate the artist into the scientific process.
The extraordinary challenges of extended space exploration not only concern technical and human-bodily aspects, they will also affect the enormous psychological and psychosocial restrictions the spacefarer will face. These limitations are due to the unusual distance and the long timeframes; the future explorers will live confined and isolated within the habitat environment far away from their place of origin. In addition, the consequences of sensory deprivation caused by the high-tech indoor habitat, the emptiness of outer space, the effects of social monotony and limited contact with home will dominate their life in the extreme environment and the emotional state of the future explorer. Many cultural techniques for recreation and stress mitigation are already in use or will be tested in human spaceflight in the near future. However, in this context the implementation of works of art has not been evaluated.
The production of works of art for future astronauts represents a new research area. From the artistic perspective, creativity will expand in an unusual manner. Artists will not only have to develop significant metaphors, they will also be confronted with an unknown responsibility, because the confined and isolated astronaut will become the exclusive audience and user of their works. Furthermore, works of art must follow the particular demands of verifiability, safety, and reliability. These specific conditions will give the artistic work a unique meaning which makes the work a part of the life-sustaining system. The outcome will be an experiment that combines both artistic and scientific strategies.
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