||The Leonardo Space Art Project Working Group is an assembly of individuals who are working together to investigate and promote the cultural dimensions of space activities.
Activities of the working group include:
Members of the Leonardo Space Art Project Working Group are:
- The Leonardo Space Art WWW Site
- "ars astronautica", an electronic newsletter
- Collaboration with the International Academy of Astronautics.
- Roger Malina, astronomer, Director of the Laboratoire d'Astronomie Spatiale in Marseille, France, and Director of the Center for Extreme Ultraviolet Astrophysics (CEA) in Berkeley, California. He is the co-chairman of the Committee
on Space Activities and Society of the International Academy of Astronautics.
- Arthur Woods, an artist whose "Cosmic Dancer Sculpture" was flown to the Russian Mir space station in 1993. He was the initiator and organizer of Ars ad Astra: the first art exhibition in Earth orbit and is the founder and president of the OURS Foundation, a nonprofit cultural and astronautical organization. He is also a corresponding member of the International Academy of Astronautics. Woods is the recently appointed Editor of "ars astronautica".
- Annick Bureaud, art educator, curator and publisher of the International Directory of the Electronic Arts, which includes resources on the space arts. She is President of the Art, Science, Technology Network (ASTN), which publishes the electronic journal and WWW site "fineArt forum".
- B.E.Johnson, engineer, artist, writer, theoretician and futurist, has served as production designer/technician for the National Air and Space Museum Einstein Planetarium, crewed for Penske Racing, worked on Space Shuttle ground crews and alongside the Voyager Imaging Team. His paintings are in films, periodicals and books, including James A. Michener's "Space", international museum and gallery exhibitions , the NASA Smithsonian permanent collection and on Imperial Earth. He is the Designer of the "Leonardo Space Art Project" environment.
Short Statements from members of the
Leonardo Space Art Working group follow:
- Statement from Roger Malina:
One of the defining achievements of the twentieth century was the birth of the space age. For the first time in history, humans escaped the gravity of the earth, walked on other celestial planets and established the first outposts in space.
The space age was possible because for centuries the cultural imagination was fed by artists, writers and musicians who dreamed of human activities in space. Now, with the end of the Cold War, the role of artists and writers is again crucial in defining our future vision of space -- and will once again be instrumental in incorporating the facts and discoveries of the space age into the cultural imagination.
Will the Space Age now come to an end and return to the province of mythology ? Or has the space age led to an irreversible cultural change so that space exploration will continue to be part of our civilization's activities?
- Statement from Arthur Woods:
The Next Millennium: A Space Age or a Stone Age?
Human destiny on Earth is irrevocably linked to human destiny in space. The continued exploration and exploitation of the space environment are essential to the future survival and prosperity of the human species. Using space resources to meet the growing needs of humanity on Earth is by far the most optimistic solution to many of the problems facing humanity as it enters the new millennium.
The key to this solution is not in technology alone because most of the necessary technology already exists, but rather in manifesting a deep and global understanding of the human situation vis-a-vis the dimensions of the Universe. Thus the cultural reasons for exploring space may prove to be even more compelling than the political and scientific reasons that have been responsible for humanity's astronautical activities up until now.
The future of space activities, the future of humanity and perhaps even the future all life on Earth is in need of skilled communicators possessing the knowledge and understanding of the scientist combined with the intuition and sensitivity of the artist.
- Statement from Annick Bureaud:
I was born in 1958 at the very beginning of the Space Age; I grew up with the striking images that came periodically from various space missions. Outer space is as natural to me as is the garden of my mother, but it was not until my confrontation with space art that I realized what space really meant for me.
It is artists and their work that reveal to me the essence of space for human beings in the twentieth century, as well as my place in the cosmos. Since then, space art works and images have continued to have a powerful effect upon me: they make me dream and move me deeply.
While learning and discovering the history of space art, I came to understand that artists have been the fuel of space exploration, embodying in their art the dreams of humankind, making these dreams desirable for engineers to achieve.
Space art is the only field I know of that depends on strong relations, cooperation and exchange between artists and scientists. Space art is one of the very few fields that gathers disciplines so apparently different as visual arts, music, dance, literature. At the end of the twentieth century, space may not seem to be as much an issue as it used to be, but it is still an important issue for humanity. I strongly believe that only artists can provide the vision that will bring
humankind to other planets.
- Statement from B.E.Johnson:
Knowledge - technology and the recording of it, art and the expression of it - is the most important gift to our future and to our heritage. We have come far and have far to go.
Knowledge building upon knowledge.
Not long ago we used to throw rocks to defend ourselves and keep warm and safe with fire.
With the grace of God, the simple technology of fire, and perseverance, we have progressed to the point of being able to dig in the ground from which we have sprung, take rocks, heat them and pound them into extensions of ourselves; then, using that fire once again, throw those rocks off this planet so fast that they will never return, not even to the Sun, the fire that sustains our life. These rocks go where we may not go, do things we cannot do, see things beyond our sight. As they go on their journey, they tell us of our place in the Universe and chart a course out into it.
Soon, we will be able to ride that same fire to visit campfires that we see in the night. Unimaginable places that, at one time, existed only in the mind of God. We are explorers by nature. It is our charge to learn all that we can learn, see all that we can see.
It is impossible to know what is over the next horizon. What discoveries await us. Answers to questions long unanswered. And questions that may have no answers. We are at a crucial turning point in our journey. Our advances, up to this point, have largely been fueled by fear. Major advances in technology came as a result of war. Exploration was based on economic gain - the chance of riches on a distant shore. If we, now in peace time and with no perceived pot of gold in the heavens, turn our backs on inquiry and knowledge for the sake of themselves, surely we are headed for the New Dark Ages - an age from which we may never return.
It is the noble task of those with vision to keep the fire of inquiry burning against the night of ignorance and apathy, lest we be swallowed into its depths and surely crushed by the singularity abiding its center; that waits, and waits, and waits...