Art In Space
Art is the expression of any ideal that artists can realize in a plastic form. In addition to language or literature, the visual arts have been a fundamental way of communicating humankind's understanding of the universe. Thus, any artwork that artists create represents in some way their personal intuitive interpretation of their reality, hence their understanding of the cosmos in which they exist. Art in-and-about-space has the potential to expand our comprehension of this new human experience, transforming it from a technical and scientific activity into other, broader forms of understanding.
"Visual artists and writers have created fictional images and scenarios on the development of space. Such visions are the primary way that the general public is introduced to ideas about space exploration. Artists and writers, in fact, lay the foundation which makes future space activities understandable by the general public and thus secures the necessary political support."
The above quote is from the 1993 International Astronautical Congress Call for Papers for the Symposium on Space Activities and Society: Arts and Literature. If the above words were in fact widely acknowledged, there would be no discussion about the importance of including art in today's space programs.
Artists and writers of the past created the visions upon which the present space program has been built. Over the years many "space artists" have served the space community as illustrators of astronomical and astronautical information provided to them by the scientists and technologists and by so doing they have helped this community to visualize and realize its goals.
Art is also a traditional and powerful means of communication. Integrating space technology into art and using the space environment for the realization of artworks which can be experienced around the world speaks of enormous potential for global communication. Considering the immensity of the universe and the potential impact that space discoveries may have on our religions, philosophies and social systems, space art is full of promise. It is somewhat amazing however, that after almost fifty years of space activities, very little art addressing these themes can be found within the mainstream arts of our culture. Only recently the international museum and gallery scene has begun to pay attention and devote exhibitions and events to the artistic exploration of outer space.
Today, humanity is confronted by a growing number of political and environmental challenges that will ultimately determine its survival and success as a species. Continued space development and exploration offers humanity the most optimistic option to survive and prosper. Yet, only when society becomes fully aware of the importance of space activities to their lives and to their future, will the hopes and dreams of humanity have a chance to become a reality. In short, the future of human civilization and, indeed, even the survival of humanity as a species is at stake. Thus, an expanded cultural dimension to human activities in space is needed just as humanity is in need of expanding its presence beyond Earth.