Week 8/ Arthur Woods/ Tammy Le

This week’s topic conveyed the enormity of opportunity and perception that can be found in space and all its elements.  The possibilities of the correlation between art, space, and life is just as endless and vast as space itself.  This week’s guest speaker, Gil Kuno, briefly mentioned one exhibit in particular that caught my interest, Arthur Wood’s the Cosmic Dancer.  Woods who, studied psychology, arts, and literature at Mercer University in Macorn, Georgia,  is a space  artist whose interest in using space as his muse is rooted in his experience  working at the Kennedy Space Center during the Apollo Program in 1968 and 1969.  He demonstrates his ability to combine elements of art and space to create masterpieces through his creation of the Cosmic Dancer in 1993.  The Cosmic dancer is based off of geometric sculptures he has been creating since 1981 whos form and angular shape enables them to be positioned in different ways, thus enabling observers to view the piece from different perspectives in relation to their surroundings.  As a result, the same sculpture can appear to be an array of different three-dimensional forms as a result of its positioning.  The cosmic dancer was is a painted, one kilogram geometric form made out of welded aluminum tubing measuring approximately 35 x 35 x 40 centimeters.  It accompanied cosmonauts of the Russion Mir Space Station in Earth’s orbit, putting it in  Low Earth Orbit and allowing the sculpture to take life as it “danced” in a weightless environment.  The purpose of the sculpture is ”to investigate the properties of sculpture in zero gravity and to examine the integration of art into a space habitat environment” (Woods,http://www.arsastronautica.com/cosmic_dancer_sculpture_on_the_mir.php).  The lack of gravity and restriction on the piece allowed it to take on free, unprectable movement.  The sculpture had a personality of its own, with no guidance its motion from human hands, but solely on the weightlessness in Low Earth Orbit.  The sculpture was no longer a stationary piece of work, but was almost like a performing art piece.  When paired with music, the Cosmic Dancer’s movement is poetic and conveys a sense of gentleness and freedom.  Although it is a masterpiece on its own, when humans do have a role in manipulating its movement, the sculpture takes on a new persona.  It can convey a story or an emotion as it’s geometic, angular shape creates a unique movement through the weightlessness of space.  Since the original, 99 more different versions of the Cosmic Dancers have been created in order to fund the project.

A Cosmic Dancer with a cosmonaut

A Cosmic Dancer with a cosmonaut. The video for The Cosmic Dancer can be found on this site: http://www.arsastronautica.com/cosmic_dancer_sculpture_on_the_mir.phpAnother


Another interesting piece that has been proposed but not yet realized by Woods is the OUR-Space Peace Sculpture, a sculpture to be launched into space whose shape represents peace and cooperation.  It is an inflateable, circular shaped sculpture divided in the middle by a cross that holds a metal sphere in the center.  The form of the sculpture is an ancient and universal symbol found in cultures throughout the world.  It is the Greek symbol for world and the medicine in American Indian Cultures.  The sphere was designed to resemble the planet earth while the inflatable circle around it would read the word “peace” in different languages.  Woods plans to have it ceromoniously pushed into space from a space station by a cosmonaut while people on earth watch on tv, uniting them in a moment in which a cry for peace through art is being projected into space and circles the world in which it is speaking to.  Woods proposed the project at a time when therelationship between Soviet Union and United States was still tense.  He hoped that the space programs would work together to support his one art piece and cause, seeing the sculpture as  “a symbolic artistic statement of world peace and cooperation”(Woods, http://www.arsastronautica.com/OUR-SPS_Space%20Peace%20Sculpture.php).

Artists like Arthur Woods have explored and realized the creative possibilities space gives to artists.  Art can be used to convey messages to the small world which inhabits the vastness of outerspace.

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