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30 Sep-01 Oct 2008; Laura Cinti - 08 Dec 2009

Running parallel to the International Astronautical Congress, Less Remote is an arts and humanities symposium on the future of space exploration. It was organised by Flis Holland and The Arts Catalyst in association with Leonardo, OLATS and co-sponsored by IAA Commission VI.

Howard Boland presenting The Martian Rose, photo by Agnes Meyer-Brandis

How do we influence space as it becomes a realm of cultural activites?  Presented with current and future scenarios, c-lab captures the idea of a gift, in their presentation of giving a rose to Mars.   

Laura Cinti's presentation The Martian Rose, Inhabiting Space Session, Less Remote - photo Agnes Meyer-Brandis

The Martian Rose uses a planetary simulation chamber to expose a rose to Martian conditions for six hours. What happens to the rose? Can we learn something about space simulations and technologies, indeed about Mars through this romantic gesture? Compressed video clip of 30 minute talk below. 

Keynote presentation by Andrew Stones, Desiring Mission, Cultural Concerns, Less Remote, Glasgow © c-lab 2008

Connecting the Australian desert with the Moon, Andrew Stones elegantly articulates the strange politics of landing sites being transformed into sacred sites, the desolation of such spaces in contrast to the fetish(ness) of space activities. Compressed video clip of 30 minute talk below. 


Agnes Meyer-Brandis, left: CCS - Cloud Core Scanner - an artistic experiment in zero gravity, right: Moon Goose Experiment - photo Agnes Meyer-Brandis

Agnes Meyer-Brandis takes us through her journeys of space(s), one below the ground, one in weightlessness through parabolic flight and finally attempting to lift off during a solar eclipse in Siberia using a set of twelve geese.

Tomas Saraceno, Air-Port-City 2008, PSYCHO BUILDINGS, Photo Tomas Saraceno

Tomas Saraceno metamorphosis the idea of creating clouds as alternative living spaces. He constructs complex balloon architectures where layers of surfaces and materials produces new habitable spaces. 

Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency
(JAXA) has taken steps to introduce artists' works and performances during space missions. Light art pioneer, Takuro Osaka, showed his marvelous "water coloured" earth video. A droplet is held in weightlessness by an astronaut that slowly adds dabs of colours that dances diffusing(ly) through the sphere of water. 


Less Remote is unique and adds an exiting layer of ideas to the IAC by bringing in  wider cultural aspects surrounding space exploration. Present, were also members of NASA, SETI and UNESCO adding to the variety of thoughts and dialogues. Much discussion considers the Moon and Mars as cultural spaces. For the Moon, its landing sites are set to become the next World Heritage Sites, whilst for Mars, it poses a coming outpost for human mission and perhaps habitation. Topics such as reproduction in space raises a wider awareness, indeed simple thoughts like the problems of getting an erection in space never mind the yet impossible potential of a space baby. More in depth discourses reverses common ideas of space as something that looks out, rather it was proposed that space activities is an introverted activity not exploring space at all - but ourselves. The conference had interludes of artists videos which included London Fieldwork's Space Baby and concluded with an interactive exhibition and performance at The Centre for Contemporary Art.
More clips of videos on The Arts Catalyst website
Session 1: The Introspective Urge
Architectures of Address & Geopolitics of Orbital Space • Fraser Macdonald (GB)
Finding Time in Google Earth • Chris Speed (GB)
The Self As Technology • Lee Mackinnon (GB)
In Space and Out Of Scale • Nina Czegledy & Andre P. Czegledy (CA)
Notes on the Potentiality of Space • Catharina Gabrielsson (SE)

Special Presentation: Tomas Saraceno (AR / IT)

Session 2: Extending Our Reach
Extraterrestrial Ethics: Our Cultural and Moral Commitment to Discover,Create and Support Emergent Life FormsAndy Miah (GB)
Human Reproduction in SpaceRachel Armstrong (GB)
Interstellar Message CompositionDoug Vakoch (US)
Yelling At Stars • Nicky Forster + Willoh Weiland (AU)

Session 3: Cultural Concerns
Desiring Missions: The Exploratory Urge and its Ideological Background Radiation • Andrew Stones (GB)
Political Culture and National Space Policy • Iain Bolton (US)
A New Culture in SpaceTakuro Osaka (JP)
The Legacy of Columbus • Hans-Arthur Marsiske (DE)
Space-Art-Rescue • Melody Burke + Frank Hoppe (DE)
The Potential Contributions of Queer CultureFrank Pietronigro (US)


Session 4: Inhabiting Space
Biological Habitat: Developing Living Spaces - Zbigniew Oksiuta (PO)
The Martian Rose • Howard Boland + Laura Cinti, c-lab (GB)
Carrie Paterson (GB)
Tools to Search - Agnes Meyer-Brandis (DE)
Space Synapse Ltd - Anna Hill (IE)
The Other Place - Kirsten Johannsen (DE)
Garments for Reduced Gravity Environments - Mark Timmins (GB)
Art from Atlantica Mission - Sarah Jane Pell (AU)
Other References: Less Remote
International Astronautical Congress 2008
The Arts Catalyst
The International Astronautical Federation (IAF)
The British Interplanetary Society (BIS)
Lunar Endurance Mission to Act as 'Boot Camp' for Mars
Saint Anselmo's Fire
ESA at IAC 2008, Glasgow
World’s biggest space show attracts 2,000 delegates
Amateurs leading the space race
Virgin Galactic tackles climate change
UK urged to fund climate project
Science Minister reveals new figures on growth in UK space industry
Defending the high cost of space exploration
South Korean Astronaut is Crazy, Sexy, Cool
Glasgow space congress brings it all home
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