I curated A glitch in the stars in Ars Electronica 2018 to showcase six projects from Space Exploration Initiative, MIT Media Lab.
In 1990, from 6 million kilometers away, Voyager 1 took a snapshot of our existence in the universe: a pale blue dot. In it, we saw the loneliness and impermanence of our species, a realization that continues to sustain a thriving, resonating call for the future. However, Space is not for humans. We are never meant to be there, an error in the wild. The isolation, lack of gravity, radiation and all the risks there can kill us in minutes.
What is human experience beyond the earthbound? Here, six projects form the Space Exploration Initiative of MIT Media Lab are asking the same question and bringing possibilities to the toughest, impossible space:
A musical instrument that only plays in zero-gravity, pneumatic surface that morphs to embrace the human body in zero-g, self-assembly infrastructure for the next generation of zero gravity habitats, spider-like performance with the three-dimensional movements of a weightless body, scents that capture the memories of our homeland and a grappler for landing foundational infrastructure on an asteroid.
All the projects were successfully deployed and performed in a zero-gravity parabolic flight last year. They are hopes beyond solutions, imaginations more than facts. Just like generations of observers, they see our future in the stars.