KOSMICA September 2011

Illustrated image of an astronaut floating in space.
Kosmica at The Arts Catalyst, programmed by Nahum Mantra

Continuing 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.

Thursday 1 September, 7-10pm

The Hunt for Alien Life

September's Kosmica searches the stars for signs of extraterrestrial life with astrobiologists Lewis Dartnell, the High-Altitude Bio-Prospecting Project, artist Jon Fawcett and (back by popular demand) We Colonised the Moon.  

Lewis Dartnell: Astrobiology - the hunt for alien life

'Astrobiology' is a brand new field of science, encompassing research into the origins and limits of life on our own planet, and where life might exist beyond the Earth. But what actually is 'life' and how did it emerge on our own world? What are the most extreme conditions terrestrial life can tolerate? And where in the cosmos might we reasonably expect to find ET? Join Dr. Lewis Dartnell on a tour of the other planets and moons in our solar system which may harbour life, and even further afield to alien worlds we've discovered orbiting distant stars, to explore one of the greatest questions ever asked: are we alone...?

Dr. Lewis Dartnell is a researcher based at University College London, studying how life, and signs of its existence, might survive the intense cosmic radiation on the surface of Mars. Alongside his research he writes regular science articles in newspapers and magazines, and has published a popular science book introducing astrobiology, “Life in the Universe: A Beginner’s Guide”.
www.lewisdartnell.com http://tinyurl.com/LifeInTheUniverse

Oliver de Peyer, Melissa Grant and Paul Shepherd: The High-Altitude Bio-Prospecting Project (HAB)

The HAB team are currently developing a high altitude bioprospecting project to search for bacteria in the stratosphere. The team spent 12 days in the Nevada desert - to fly their device as many times as is possible - on balloons and rockets. They have teamed up with the Rocket Mavericks. They went to the Black Rock desert - home of the burning man festival. There was no phone coverage and it’s very remote (austere as Ol says), so they took GPS and satellite phones and all kinds of wizardry - hopefully there was some good star gazing too.

The team are currently developing an exhibition/installation/performance and symposium around the project.

http://highaltitudebioprospector.blogspot.com/ http://www.nesta.org.uk/nasa

Jon Fawcett: Untitled

Jon Fawcett presents a currently untitled film about the existence of aliens. Comprising of a cutup-compilation of the most convincing online video material, the film situates itself, as Fawcett says, "alongside other contemporary mythologies, both alternative and mainstream". What do you believe, and why?

Jon Fawcett’s use of extensive research into tropes of conspiracy and media cults have allowed him to bring into focus the fuzzy logic of new age mysticism that is proliferating in the era of networked consciousness. His sculptures, film and performance exude a menacing technical precision and seduce with a spectrum of alluring colours but these are aesthetic camouflage to cloak ideas that question the nature of the mediated reality or as the artist says, ‘a fabric of contemporary mythologies.’ - Mark Waugh. www.jonfawcett.com

We Colonised the Moon

Sue Corke and Hagen Betzwieser of We Colonised the Moon are back present experiments throughout the evening, as part of their work at ACME and for The Arts Catalyst's forthcoming exhibition Republic of the Moon. 



Kosmica is endorsed by ITACCUS, the International Astronautical Federation's Committee on the Cultural Utilisation of Space.