International committee on the cultural utilisation of space

The new IAF (International Astronautical Federation) Technical Activities Committee for the Cultural Utilisation of Space (ITACCUS) has been set up to promote and facilitate the innovative utilisation of space by cultural sectors of society internationally. The term 'utilisation' is used often by the space community. In a cultural context, it may include cultural production, cultural preservation, cultural representation, cultural education and cultural development.

The Arts Catalyst is a founder member of ITACCUS. The current Co-Chairs are Roger Malina, IAA and Laboratoire d’Astrophysique de Marseille, and Nicola Triscott, Director, The Arts Catalyst. Membership comprises individuals acting as liaisons for many cultural and space organisations (committee membership listed below).

In June 2008, in her capacity as ITACCUS Co-chair, Nicola Triscott was invited to make a presentation to the United Nations Committee on the Cultural Utilisation of Space (COPUOS) in Vienna. 

ITACCUS Activities

ITACCUS' activities comprise:

* Advocacy - promoting, developing and raising the profile and quality of ‘cultural utilisation of space’ within the space community and within the cultural community internationally, and with the general public

* Collaboration – organising meetings and workshops internationally.

* Communication & Dialogue – There is an ITACCUS Google Group with open membership

* Knowledge Hub

* Promoting Quality Cultural Products

ITACCUS Pilot Projects

    ITACCUS endorsed, and was launched to the public at, the Less Remote symposium at the 59th International Astronautical Congress in Glasgow in 2008.

    ITACCUS is endorsing a major European touring exhibition 'Republic of the Moon' which will open at FACT, Liverpool, UK, in April 2010. The curators of the exhibition include Rob La Frenais, The Arts Catalyst, and Mike Stubbs, FACT.

    ITACCUS will collaborate with the International Lunar Exploration working group to develop the cultural aspects of this work.

    ITACCUS is sponsoring a session on 'Water from Space: Societal, Educational and Cultural Aspects' at the 61st International Astronautical Congress in Prague in 2010. This will be a joint session between the IAF Space Education and Outreach Commitee and the IAA Commission VI.

    Committee Membership

    Co-Chair, Space Sector:

    • Roger Malina, IAA and Laboratoire d’Astrophysique de Marseille 
    • Co-Chair, Cultural Sector:
    • Nicola Triscott, Director, The Arts Catalyst, London 

    Cultural Sector

    • FACT (Foundation for Art and Creative Technology), Liverpool, UK: Mike Stubbs, Director, FACT 
    • Leonardo/OLATS, France: Annick Bureaud 
    • Srishti School of Art, Design and Technology, Bangalore, India: Geetha Narajanan, President
    • National Institute for Advanced Study, Bangalore, India: Sundar Sarukkai, Dean of Humanities
    • Space Art One, Paris, France: Jean Luc Soret, President 
    • Zero Gravity Arts Consortium, USA  (ZGAC): Frank Pietronigro 
    • The Arts Catalyst, London: Rob La Frenais, Curator 
    • UNESCO, Paris: Mario Hernandez 
    • Transmediale, Berlin: Steve Kovaz, Director 
    • ECAV, Switzerland: Georges Pfruender 
    • Les Abbatoirs, Toulouse: Pascal Pique, Curator 
    • V2_Organisation for the Unstable Media, Rotterdam: Alex Adrianssens, Director 

    Space Sector

    Space Agencies:

    • ESA: Miquel Pastor Vinader 
    • NASA (HQ): Steven J Dick  
    • NASA JPL: Dan Goods 
    • NASA JSC: Wendell Mendell 
    • JAXA: Matsuo Naoko 
    • Brazil: Aristides Pavani 


    • Athena Global, Canada: Karl Doetsch, President  
    • Deimos Space S.A.: Pedro Duque, Director General 
    • Lockheed (Palo Alto Research Labs): Frank Friedlaender 
    • Space Technology Ireland Ltd , Ireland: Susan McKenna Lawlor, President  

    Space NGOs:

    • Boston University, Center for Space Physics: Dr Supriya Chakrabarti 
    • International Academy of Astronautics: David Raitt, Commission VI Chair Ex Officio
    • International Federation of Astronautics, Education and Outreach Committee: Chris Welch 
    • International Lunar Exploration Working Group (ILEWG): Bernard Foing 
    • Hubble Space Telescope Institute: Carol Christian
    • Space Generation Advisory Council: Kevin Stube. Executive Secretary, Agnieszka Lukaszczyk  
    • Space School Africa, South Africa: Adrian Meyer, Chief Executive Officer 
    • Spaceland, Italy: Carlo Viberti, President 
    • U.N. Committee on Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS): Ambassador Ciro Arevalo Yepes, Chairman of COPUOS
    • Institute of Astronomy, Cambridge: Barry Phipps

    Some Examples of Cultural Utilisation of Space

    A number of space agencies (JAXA, ESA, CNES, NASA for instance) have developed programmes that promote cultural uses (eg artist residencies, flights by artists on parabolic zero gravity training planes).

    UNESCO has an ambitious programme to use remote sensing from satellites to help document and protect cultural sites designed by UNESCO as World Heritage Sites.

    In 2005 the European Space Agency awarded a contract to The Arts Catalyst to develop recommendations for how ESA could develop a new category of users of the International Space Station (ISS) from the cultural sector (such as artists and performance companies).

    For the past 5 years JAXA has worked with art and architecture schools in Japan to develop ideas for culturally specific activities on the ISS.

    Cultural organisations The Arts Catalyst, Projekt Atol and ZGAC have organised parabolic flights specifically for cultural programmes. Commercial parabolic flight companies now routinely include artists. As mentioned above, ESA, CNES and the Russian Space Agency have accommodated artists on zero gravity flights on their training planes.

    A number of art museums have organised exhibitions of "space art" and space related art.

    A number of space science laboratories and observatories have hosted artists' projects and residencies, such as the NASA/Arts Council England residencies at Berkeley Space Sciences Laboratory.

    Many artists have used space data in the creation of artworks, such as using radioastronomy data to make sound art.

    Google Earth and Google Sky make available satellite remote sensing and astronomical data for all applications and uses both commercial and cultural.