When artistic creation goes to outer space


Aerospace technology is undergoing a revolution in many ways: Scientific missions off the ground are shifting from robotic to human-driven; space tourism promises to experience a boom in the coming years, while the aerospace industry is shifting to the private sector. On the other hand, crucial discoveries have been made in recent years regarding the functioning of the Universe. Let us remember that a couple of years ago the collision between two black holes was recorded.

Makers and artists have dreamed of outer space and intelligent life on other planets forever, and now, for the first time, space technology is within their reach. The cosmos ceases to be a source of inspiration and becomes a raw material. Space is hackable, artists can play a role in establishing communication with extraterrestrial civilizations, and the astro-scientific world produces vast amounts of data, which are available to anyone and can be used for creative purposes.

This year Sónar+D brings together astro-scientists, musicians, artists, makers, hackers and space lovers through different activities in which space exploration is the protagonist.


We'll start with Sonar Calling's "behind the scenes" with a double aspect: In a talk, the scientists who have made it possible to send music into space will come together with the artists who have created the musical message. In the Sónar Calling GJ273b Control Room by Absolut installation, you can experience the artistic and scientific aspects of the 12.4 light-years journey that will transport a representation of the best electronic music to the exoplanet Luyten B.

Art helps to push the boundaries of technology, which is why institutions like SETI (where the existence of extraterrestrial intelligence is investigated) have artists in residence who use scientific material as raw material for their work. Dr. Jon Jenkins (NASA) and Charles Lindsay (SETI AIR) will show us how to discover new planets and how to create them with astro-scientific material.

Space is hackable

We will get to know the MIT Space Exploration Initiative, with its director, Ariel Ekblaw. This department brings together artists, scientists, engineers and designers to research materials and devices in order to democratize aerospace technology. What is science fiction today will be the daily life of tomorrow.

We will listen to multidimensional Designer of Experience Dr. Nelly Ben Hayoun. Her work is halfway between design, politics and theatre. She works for WeTransfer, SETI, the United Nations' VR laboratory, and has created the International Space Orchestra, a unique orchestra of NASA scientists and astronauts.

We will ask ourselves about the meaning of art outside the Earth, after all, art is what makes us specifically human, and we will do it with three artists and researchers: Zero Gravity Band (Albert Barqué and Marc Marzenit) and Nicole L'Huillier who respectively are investigating what human culture will be like in space by building musical instruments to create art and perform music in non-terrestrial conditions of gravity.

We will use scientific material as image files from spatial explorations to visualize astronomical data and reuse these materials (which are available to anyone) for creative purposes. This workshop - given by the artist Román Torre and the astrophysicist Xavier Luri - is both an introduction to the objects of the cosmos and creative programming.

We will build nanosatellites guided by scientists from the Institut d'Estudis Espacial de Catalunya (IEEC). These small satellites, designed for research purposes, will bring us closer to aerospace technology, which is no longer the privilege of the scientific elite, but is now almost available to anyone who is curious to explore.

We will navigate through the data visualizations of the Barcelona Supercomputing Center in a facility where our reference scales change and the distance and time measurements are imperceptible.