Chairing Aerosolar – Space Without Rockets with Tomas Saraceno, November 4-8

To see activities in the Rubin Center, El Paso’s Territory of the Imagination anniversary event, and to register for Aerosolar- Space Without Rockets click here

Here’s the conference programme:

Aerosolar: Space Without Rockets
A program and conference about alternatives in space exploration and art.
Territory of the Imagination: At the Border of Art and Space is a collaborative project that looks at the work of artists who engage in disruptive, alternative, and collective interactions with space and space technology or who appropriate and reinterpret existing datasets. It reflects a growing global movement of artist-scientist-activists who are working in such a way that the imaginary of space becomes an expansion of the social imaginary,providing alternatives to traditional state-based and emerging commercial interests. Through both artistic and participatory practices, these artists are generating new possibilities for relating to the skies and to one another.
Territory of the Imagination will take place on the US-Mexico border in El Paso, Texas and Juarez, Mexico. Through a series of exhibitions, workshops and public events, we will highlight the unique ways in which the types of activities described above have surfaced in Latin America and the US Mexico border region, characterized by a particularly high number of emerging space programs, a range of both established and emerging artists who are working with space and space technology, and a range of individuals, artist collectives and social movements seeking to put space related technology into the hands of communities who have little or no access to the massive economic and technological infrastructure behind most governmental or commercial use of space.
Rubin Center, The University of Texas at El Paso and White Sands National Park, November 5-8, 2015
In the heart of America’s space landscape, near the White Sands Missile Range and not far from Spaceport America, the conference will focus on some of the core questions that lie in the practice of internationally acclaimed artist Tomás Saraceno. Is it possible to imagine a future where space travel can happen without burning up hydrocarbons, increasing climate change and joining the nationalistic hegemony of the space race? Informed by Saraceno’s ideas, this conference will look at alternative visions of space travel through the lens of art and artistic activity, and include artists who question the meaning of space exploration, the human factors surrounding it and the landscape of West Texas and New Mexico, home to the history of rocketry and future of space tourism.
Tomás Saraceno, artist and initiator of numerous aerosolar, lighter-than-air projects, collectives, and ideas (Museo Aero Solar, Becoming Aerosolar, Aerocene), who will launch an aerosolar sculpture from White Sands Desert.
John Powell, founder of JP Aerospace, who believes we can engineer lighter-than-air space travel.
Rob La Frenais, conference chair and curator of the Aerosolar/Space Without Rockets project, who will summarise other alternatives in space travel such as space elevators and non-propellant rocket drives.
Ewen Chardronnet of the Association of Autonomous Astronauts, who will discuss the alternative history of rocketry, starting from the ‘rocket boys’ Jack Parsons and Frank Malina and continuing with Von Braun and Operation Paperclip as well as commenting on the ecological implications of space tourism.
Kathelin Gray, co-founder and Director of the former Biosphere 2 in Arizona, from Synergia Ranch in New Mexico, who will discuss the current project to launch a new type of space analogue.
Nicola Triscott, Director of the science-art organisation The Arts Catalyst, London, who will discuss the peaceful uses of space.
Nahum Mantra, co-curator of the Matters of Gravity zero gravity exhibition who will speak about artistic engagement with space exploration in the Mexican context.
Cristobal Martinez of Post Commodity, who will present the cross-border balloon project Repellent Fence
Astrovandalistas (Leslie Garcia, Rodrigo Frenk, Thiago Hersen and Andres Padilla Domene), presenting a cross-border project that remaps the sky through past and future lenses.


Thursday November 5
4 PM Astrovandalistas Presentation of Imaginario Inverso project
5 PM – 7:30 PM Opening reception of Territory of the Imagination at Rubin Center, El Paso: Matters of Gravity, Art in Orbit, Inverse Imaginary by Astrovandalistas and The Making of Aerosolar, by Tomas Saraceno.


Friday November 6
Space Without Rockets Symposium, Rubin Center, UTEP, El Paso
10 AM Coffee and registration
10:30 AM Rob La Frenais, opening remarks
11 AM Keynote: Floating Into Space – Lighter than air space travel, Tomas Saraceno and John Powell
12:30 PM Q&A, Discussion.
13:00 PM Lunch
14:00 PM Geopolitics of Space: Nicola Triscott, Cristobal Martinez, Nahum Mantra.
15:30 PM Space in the Desert: Ewen Chardronnet and Kathelin Grey.
16:30 PM General panel discussion chaired by Rob La Frenais
17:00 PM Closing drinks – depart to Rubin Center 10th anniversary Gala.


Sunday November 8
Launch of Aerosolar by Tomás Saraceno, White Sands National Park (details forthcoming)

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