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The human dream of flight
and space exploration

Now on ikono On Demand

When  the astronauts of the Apollo 11 approached the Moon in 1969, they turned their telescope towards Earth. The image showed it as a fragile, blue sphere surrounded by a halo of light floating in the deep blackness of space. It was the first image ever taken showing the Earth from afar.

The event was followed by 530 million people on TV and the picture of the planet we inhabit, unequivocally showing its loneliness and fragility, provoked a subtle shift in human consciousness, creating a new awareness towards Earth as our home and the need to protect it. It is not a coincidence that the first Ecological movements were born in those years. In 1990, the space probe Voyager 1 left the Solar System and, from a record distance of about 6 billion kilometers, it was commanded by NASA to turn its camera around and take one last photograph of Earth, at the request of  astronomer and writer Carl Sagan. In this picture, known as the "Pale Blue Dot", the Earth’s apparent size is less than a pixel, and the planet appears as a tiny dot against the blackness of space.

Four years later, Carl Sagan published the book "Pale Blue Dot: a Vision of the Human Future in Space". His work at NASA was not only key in the development of the Apollo program; he also aimed, throughout his career, at bridging the gap between astrophysicists’ specialized knowledge and the interest of the general public, writing divulgative books that soon became bestsellers, and conducting the TV program "Cosmos" - aired in the 1980’s in the USA.

Since the birth of the Space Age the mystery related to the cosmos with the possibility of leaving terrestrial gravity has been a strong driving force in artistic practice. October’s program "Pale Blue Dot" on ikonoTV brings together a selection of works born through  this great inspiration  combining both the ancient dream of flight with  more recent scientific research of  space exploration.

Michael Najjar is October’s Artist of the Month on ikonoTV: as  the first and only  artist undergoing the hard astronaut training to physically experience loss of orientation, balance and gravity, his works perfectly  represent the fascination with Space. Included in our program are his series of video works "outer space", the documentary movie "mission:space" showing the different phases of his training, and an Echo combining Caspar David Friedrich’s "The Sea of Ice - The Wreck of Hope" with Michael Najjar’s photograph "serious anomaly", in which the artist identically recomposes the wreck of the first Virgin Galactic prototype space rocket which crashed in 2014.

"Pale Blue Dot" also features William Kentridge’s playful "Journey to the Moon" and
Tomas Saraceno’s project "Cosmic Jive: The Cosmic Sessions", belonging to a wider research in which the artist, through the observation of spiderwebs, explores the aesthetic dimensions of the evolutionary process within the geometry of the universe.

In Simon Faithfull’s “Escape Vehicles n.6”, a weather balloon is launched with a domestic chair dangling in space beneath it. We witness the journey of the chair from the ground to the edge of space (30km high), from which  the curve of Earth becomes visible.

Moreover, the program includes works by Carla Chan, K&L, Feng Chen, Adriane Wachholz, Wenfeng Liao, Larissa Sansour, Alessandra Bergamaschi, Sara Tirelli and Elena Mazzi,
Ma Qiusha, Amir Yatziv, Irene Fenara, Chris Coleman, and Azzurra Lugari

Curated by Vanina Saracino

Special on ikono On Demand

We are thrilled to present the video work in eight chapters

The First Human Born in Space, by Jasmin Blasco

In a series of transmissions, The First Human Born in Space examines the long term effects of the condition of outer space on the human subject, mind and body. The orbital perspective of the native astronaut provides an alien vantage point on Earth from an environment of pure technological mediation.