[artinfo] 04/10/07

franck ancel info at franck-ancel.com
Wed Oct 3 23:21:32 CEST 2007

*from Sputnik Satellite to Explorer Art
Time Paris 19h/20h
Internet french communication/performance
=> rtsp://qts.zonepro.fr/ancel <rtsp://qts.zonepro.fr/ancel>
*Free player quicktime for visual/sounds good
English text translate of communication/performance (*)
Sputnik day Friends http://sputnik.irmielin.org

Avec mes remerciement à Monsieur Bruno Chanetz de l'ONERA pour nous 
avoir ouvert les portes de la Grande Soufflerie de Meudon, Eric 
Pellegrin de la Générale de Production pour sa disponibilité, Gil 
Cairati de Zone Pro pour sa technologie, Joachim Montessuis pour son 
souffle sonore, Julien Bittner pour sa captation des images, Alex Singer 
pour son graphisme intuitif, Emmanuelle Hug pour son soutien canadien, 
Camille Gibrat pour ses songes silencieux et Jacques Polieri pour sa 
passion visionnaire ainsi que mes compagnons de route d'hier, 
d'aujourd'hui et de demain...


(*) This is not a scientific presentation on the technologies of 
aeronautics and outer space. And yet the 50th anniversary of the 
launching of the first satellite in the history of humanity prompts us 
to evoke artists whose vision has been transformed by the conquest of 
planets. The change from sky to outer space has marked the monumental 
site where we're standing now: the large wind tunnel of ONERA in France. 
Yet our performance on this site will transcend such ideological and 
economic challenges as “space as a tourist destination” — which will 
soon become a reality— and the continuity of ideas —from those expressed 
by Nikolaï Federovitch Fedorov in Moscow in 1880 to the “current 
astro-futurism” noted by Witt Douglas Kilgore in the USA, both of them 
anticipating the creation of human colonies in space. The question of 
modernity is not our objective.

The pre- and post- WWII artistic avant-gardes and new avant-gardes all 
turned towards outer space in another fashion, rejecting earth’s gravity 
to move towards the cosmos. They shaped a more fundamental questioning 
of man facing the infinite. In 1920, in his introduction to the 
lithograph album of Suprematism, the Russian metaphysician Kasimir 
Malevich wrote that “all technical organisms are nothing but small 
satellites, a whole living world ready to fly off and occupy a specific 
place in outer space. In truth, each satellite has been equipped by 
reason and is ready to live its own personal life.” In Italy, the artist 
Lucio Fontana, who founded Spatialism with the futurist Antonino Tullier 
in the 50s, later declared “I do not want to make a painting, I want to 
open up space, to create a new dimension for art and to link it with the 
cosmos, as it spreads in its infinity beyond the flat surface of the image.”

In 1957, Takis — an artist of Greek origin who defined himself as an 
“intuitive scientist” when talking to the psychiatrist and philosopher 
Felix Guattari— designed a space suit that allowed one person to be 
suspended in the air. Wearing this creation, Sinclair Beiles was thus 
"hanging" at the gallery Iris Clert in Paris on November 29, 1960, on 
the occasion of a Takis exhibition entitled “The Impossible: A Man in 
Space”. In June 1961, Takis gave the following details: “I did not care 
about aesthetics, or about setting up the first happening in history. I 
wanted to ‘provoke’ technology. Sinclair was the first man in space. His 
trip was done out of love and at no cost.” The art critic Guy Brett 
specified that “this spectacular installation used the resources of 
magnetism and represented a kind of collision between three universes: 
art, science and contemporary reality. Five months before Youri Gagarine 
became the first man to escape the earthly laws of gravity, Takis 
managed to make the poet Sinclair Beiles float in space thanks to a 
system of magnets. While he was in levitation, Beiles recited his poem: 
I Am a Sculpture.”

In 1963, the French visionary director-stage-designer Jacques Polieri, 
becoming aware of the importance of satellites, described how "actions 
taking place at huge distances from one another can also be envisaged 
via the use of teletechniques." He was even more cosmic in 1964, 
specifying that the "inclination, rotation, orbit and movements of the 
planetary systems probably make up the very geometrical structure of 
future scenography". In 1967, he thought up a gyroscopic room made into 
satellite, and in 1968 he planned a project for a planetary place 
inspired by man’s first step on the moon. While waiting for a true 
spatial space, Polieri logically made use of satellite relays for his 
communication games on an intercontinental scale — like the 1983 event 
between New-York Tokyo and Cannes, on the theme of "man-machine 
interface". The dimension of artwork beyond the modern discipline of 
artistic creation has constantly been made livelier by technology and 
today the cosmic vision of artists has almost become a reality.

As early as 1975, another space without geographical boundaries was 
thought up by American artists Kit Galloway and Sherrie Rabinowitz, with 
the construction of images and sounds in a virtual place. They developed 
a series of projects under the heading "aesthetic research in 
telecommunication." Amongst them, satellite arts pushed a multitude of 
artistic disciplines into telecollaboration; at a time when satellites 
were the only viable means for transmitting full-motion video across 
oceans. It brought current times closer to the future global context 
that we now experience with the internet. The Electronic Café project 
followed suit in the 80s with the arrival of new telecommunication 
networks. Transmission via networks helped blend dance and music by 
different people, in order to try and discover new genres and 
disciplines. These people thus explored new ways of being in the world.

On January 1, 1984, the Korean video artist Nam June Paik, along with 
Joseph Beuys, Merce Cunningham and Allan Ginsberg among others, greeted 
the New Year with "Good Morning Mr Orwell" (co-produced by Centre George 
Pompidou, WNET, 13th Channel Television Laboratory and Fr 3). It was one 
of the first programmes conceived by an artist and simultaneously 
broadcast live by satellite in Europe, the USA and Korea. Through his 
live satellite broadcasts (Good Morning Mr. Orwell, 1984, Bye Bye 
Kipling, 1986, Wrap Around the World, 1988), Nam June Paik created 
connections between the worlds of art and media, popular and avant-garde 
cultures, technology and philosophical reflection, Orient and Occident. 
 From then on, the satellite was to be an artistic instrument at an 
international scale, and in no way the scientific and technological tool 
of a single country.

Since 2000, the Arts Catalyst cultural organisation in England has been 
working to promote spatial art in close relationship with such 
associations as OLATS in France and V2 in Holland. The zero gravity 
experience in weightlessness has thus been tested by artists, on 
parabolic flights until then restricted to scientists and technicians. 
Among these artists are the French choreographer Kitsou Dubois, the 
Catalan performer Marcelli Antunez Roca, and artists from other 
disciplines, such as the Slovenes Marko Peljhan, who is trying to build 
his own satellite, and Dragan Zivadinov whose theatre has turned towards 
outer space. In 2002, the Tate Modern in London even launched an 
architecture competition to dream up the Tate in outer space, as the 
first museum set in orbit around the planet earth. Today, the virtual 
space of such networked worlds as Second Life could well be not only 
another way of travelling throughout the real world, but also of 
concretely touching imaginary universes. It is therefore not surprising 
that people can teleport as they would in an outer-spatial space. 
Likewise, artists on earth use such satellite-based technologies as GPS 
to create works that help us find a different way of apprehending our 
world and its course, by throwing in new fictions.

Late in September 2007, Opportunity, the robot exploring planet Mars, 
started to go down the Victoria crater until it reached a band of more 
luminous rocks that stood out from the rest of the ground. This rover is 
now in position to examine a block of rock with the tools of its 
electronic arm. Since January 2004, the NASA's robots ‘Opportunity’ and 
‘Spirits’ have been exploring Mars and providing scientific data. 
Furthermore, they have also freely broadcast images from Mars on the 
Internet global network. Yet no artist has had the idea of using these 
direct images from outer space to create a performance or a work of art. 
Another launching of new American robots is planned in 2009, and we hope 
some creator will have this idea. An initiative of the same type could 
be a major event in China for Shanghai’s Universal Expo in 2010, which 
is when the Chinese should be sending the same type of robots to Mars.

In 1985, "Schismatrix", a cyberpunk novel by the American Bruce 
Sterling, featured a production by the Kabuki Screen Company. This show 
was no longer performed on earth or on another planet, but in pure outer 
space. Sterling describes it in this way: We get rid of the stage: too 
flat. Curtains are boring — we can obtain the same effect with lights. 
You might be used to the old circumlunars and their bloody centrifuge 
whirling, but nowadays, people love weightlessness. Does this mean we'll 
all have to sit in the weightlessness zone?

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