KOSMICA July 2011

An astronaut sleeping.
Carey Young, Kosmica, Columbiad, 1997
Illustrated image of an astronaut floating in space.
Kosmica at The Arts Catalyst, programmed by Nahum Mantra

Carey Young, Ansuman Biswas, and Empress Stah take the floor for Kosmica, the monthly series of social galactic gatherings to bring together those interested in sharing cultural ideas about space.

Each Kosmica session is unique: bringing together the cosmically curious and culturally quirky space community for a social mix of art–space programmes - a film screening, performance or live concert with a short presentation, talk and debate about alternative and cultural uses of space.

Wednesday 13 July

Carey Young discussed her recent artistic works which critique and satirise the ‘management’ and legal control of outer space. Using recent discoveries in astrophysics and space imaging, as well as creating new propositions in copyright law, her works use cameraless photography, installation, text and sculpture to investigate links between outer space law and ideas of landscape, colonialism and the ‘real’. Young has exhibited widely including recent solo shows at The Power Plant, Toronto (2009), Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis (2009), Paula Cooper Gallery, New York (2010) and the touring solo show Memento Park.  She is represented by Paula Cooper Gallery, New York. Her touring solo show Memento Park is at mima, Middlesbrough.

Empress Stah is a London based aerial artist and avant garde cabaret performer with a life long ambition to make a show in Outer Space. Stah recently came one step closer to realising this dream when she experienced microgravity for the first time, aboard a commercial flight with the Zero G Corporation.  She will be presenting footage taken aboard this flight and will talk about the thinking behind her ACE funded research and development project 'Stah-Lite in Space'; what she intends to do in Zero G when she gets her hands on the Russian's plane; and will outline her vision for  'Stah-Lite and the Stah Whores Corporation', which is a new show that has been commissioned for The Spill Festival 2012/13.

Ansuman Biswas was born in Calcutta and trained in the UK. He has an international practice encompassing music, film, live art, installation, writing and theatre. He is interested in hybridity and interdisciplinarity – often working between science, art and industry, for instance, or between music, dance and visual art.  His central concern lies between science, work and religion. For the last decade he has been working on Zero Genie projects in collaboration with Jem Finer, who appeared in June's Kosmica. He is a Trustee of The Arts Catalyst. Zero Genie was conceived as a response to the structure and history of the space program over the last 50 years. For millennia people have been travelling to the most remote regions of the cosmos using shamanistic technologies. Can we deride their experiences as being any less valid, any less real, than those of modern astronauts and cosmonauts? Who is to arbitrate on claims of yogic levitation, or persistent conspiracy theories suggesting that the American moon landings were actually a hoax constructed in a film studio? Judgements of fantasy and reality are conditioned by relationships of power. The vast expanse of space is a political territory, colonised so far by the industrialized, affluent powers. Its exploration is a First World, high investment pursuit, beyond the orbit of all but the whitest, richest individuals.


The Kosmica series is programmed by Nahum Mantra and is endorsed by ITACCUS, the International Astronautical Federation's Committee on the Cultural Utilisation of Space. 

Artists' websites

Carey Young, Empress Stah, Ansuman Biswas