Week 8- Space & Abstract by Kimberlie Shiao

I liked this week’s topic of space; the resulting sci-fi from the field is one of my favorite mixes of science and art. Unfortunately, despite the progress of the Space Age, it seems that now lack of funding means we’re back to dreaming about space and studying the sky from the ground. Maybe that’s partially a good thing, considering how much space junk we’ve left orbiting the planet. But I can’t help but feel disappointed at the fact that we’re contented to focus on ourselves, on our planet. Space is a really humbling thing; it’s something even beyond the natural wonders of our earth. I think humans could really grow as individuals through the humility of how insignificant our planet is. But the existence of videos with ideas like this (Carl Sagan’s Pale Blue Dot), suggests that this might be too optimistic of an idea. (Or maybe we have been humbled and I just haven’t lived long enough to see the difference; but when I look at myself and others I still can’t help thinking we don’t think of the big picture enough.) I think one way to draw attention to the beauty of space and the small fragile nature of ourselves and the planet, is art. I had never even heard of or thought about the space art we talked about this week. I thought everything people did in space was science related, and everything artistic in space was for things like time capsules, alien contact or the comfort of astronauts. So I particularly liked the space sculpture that Gil Kuno talked about, which was made to spin in the no-gravity feature of space. It’s really interesting that something so intrinsic to our lives, and partly the reason of how we are shaped, can be subtracted. I like how this sculpture moved beyond the idea of gravity, beyond the idea of staying somewhere relatively static, and moves through the unknown. Hopefully, if funding for space research continues (and if space tourism catches on), there can be more space related art such as non-gravity features. It would not only get people to pay attention to space, but (hopefully) make them think about humans and the universe in a different way.
For Gil Kuno’s own work, I really liked the Six String Sonic project. I thought it was a really interesting approach to something familiar, and remixing it. I expected it to sound rather cacophonous, but it was actually a bit jazzy. I think the way sound moves and is constructed is sometimes taken for granted or ignored, so I thought this project was an interesting eye opener.

NASA’s picture of the day archive
Someone imagined what a subway system map for the Milky Way would look like

I want to explore the ideas of alternate universes, phantom limbs, and technological telepathy. The main idea of the project would be for people to consider alternate life forms that could exist in space or other universes. The aim for this project is to make people think about the possibilities beyond our planet, and experience them. Of course, this is going to still be limited and human centric, to give the participants some ground of comparison. But the idea of using technology to give the feeling of multiple arms, heads, or even a collective mind would be alien enough to hopefully get people wondering about time, the definition of “human”, technology, and universes.

Kimberlie Shiao

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