../book of principles


artistic practice



In this research Kirsten Johannsen explores a novel working field for the artist, defining the integration of works of art within the indoor environment of human space habitats as an aesthetic countermeasure to isolation and confinement. The interdisciplinary concept starts out from the idea that works of art have the potential to reduce the negative emotions facing astronauts during extended missions into deep space.

Today, after orbiting the Earth and travelling to the Moon, Planet Mars is widely considered to be the next destination for human space exploration. Space researchers predict thatthe most feasible scenario of a human travelling to Mars would be a one thousand-day mission, essentially a three-year mission into outer space. From our perspective on Earth destination Mars looks both exciting and bewildering.

But the reality of the future space traveller is ambiguous: the vast outer environment, the brisk high-tech design of the inner space habitat and the long duration for which astronauts are confined within the space capsule will cause sensory deprivation, social monotony and, quite likely, boredom. And another up to now unknown phenomenon and encounter will occur: the Earth-out-of-view-phenomenon. From the Mars perspective Planet Earth will be out of sight, due to the long distance.

As a consequence, our home planet will become an insignificant dot in space, it will look like all the other stars. Unfortunately, one cannot forecast today how the future space traveller will react. Presumably the long journey is to become a new and extraordinary challenge for the human explorer. Not exclusively from a technical and physiological but also from a psychological viewpoint. Isolation and confinement have inherently been identified as an enormous burden for future explorers. Up to now, many design and cultural techniques for recreation as well as psychological treatments are already in use or will be tested in human spaceflight in the near future. However, in this context the implementation of works of art has not been evaluated and research breaks new ground.

Throughout this research, Johannsen identified and worded a set of principles. These principles outline how artworks could be linked with both human needs while being out of the planet and ongoing space research. They are ordered into seven segments, namely the »Artwork« itself, the categories of »Limitlessness«, »Placelessness«, »Sensorialness«, »Homelikeliness«, and »Closenessness« as well as basic demands of »Interdisciplinarity». Each section and category names scientific aspects and combines them with suitable artistic interventions. They can be used as a starting point for concerted art-science research.