MIR Flight 001
Zvezdny Gorodok (Star City), Russia
16/09/2001 – 23/12/2001
One of the most fascinating aspects of manned space flight is the state of zero gravity or weightlessness: astronauts and objects floating in air. But it is only recently that this extraordinary 'by-product' of the space programme has been recognised as a rich scientific resource, with a multitude of experiments queuing up for the space agencies' parabolic flight programmes and for the new International Space Station. To date, the aesthetic possibilities of zero gravity have barely been explored, in part due to the exclusiveness of the environment, accessible only to astronauts and scientists.
In September 2001, the Arts Catalyst took a group of London and Russian artists, scientists and philosophers to Star City, Russia, to undertake projects in zero gravity, utilising the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Centre's parabolic flight programme.
The Russian Federation is a nation with a large space programme. To carry out this programme it is necessary to train cosmonauts in real conditions of space flight - zero gravity. To achieve zero gravity in earth conditions, the Yuri Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Centre uses the flight of a special flying laboratory - the Ilyushin-76 MDK - on a parabolic trajectory. They have extensive experience of these flights. The IL-76 MDK is a very large aircraft specially adapted for parabolic flight.
After the parabolic fligh, Flow Motion gave a free concert of electronic music for the people of Star City at the Cosmonauts Club.
London and Russian artists and scientists selected for the MIR flight 001 (some flying, some ground-based) were:
Anna Alchuk, artist and poet
Ansuman Biswas, artist and musician
Alexei Blinov, engineer and member of Raylab
Anthony Bull, biomechanics scientist, Imperial College London
Jem Finer, artist and musician
Kevin Fong, doctor, lecturer in space medicine, University College London
Edward George, musician and member of Flow Motion
Andrew Kotting, film director
Trevor Mathison, musician and member of Flow Motion
Judith Palmer, freelance journalist
Anna Piva, musician and member of Flow Motion
Mikhail Ryklin, scientist and philosopher
Morag Wightman, dancer
Louise K Wilson, artist
Andrey and Julia Velikanov, artists
Gravity: A Love Story - Morag Wightman & Craos Mor
Zero Genies - Jem Finer & Ansuman Biswas
Wave Particle - Jem Finer & Ansuman Biswas
Kosmos in Blue - Flow Motion
Too G - Andrew Kotting
Universal Substitute - Andrei & Julia Velikanov