Resident Artist Arthur Woods
My name is Arthur Woods (Biography) and I consider myself to be an astronautical artist. My artistic work is related to outer space as it has been designed to take place beyond Earth’s atmosphere and as such, it relies on the science and technology of astronautics in order to be realized. My goal has been to expand a cultural dimension to humanity’s space activities while sharing the vision of what space development means for the future of our civilization.
I am early proponent in the area of Astronautical Arts or rather “art-in-space” concepts. Since the mid 1980’s I have initiated a number of projects designed for the outer space environment including two that were actually realized on the Mir space station.
In 1993, my Cosmic Dancer sculpture - an investigation of the art of sculpture in weightlessness - was the first three-dimensional artwork purposely designed and officially integrated into a human habitat beyond Earth.
In 1995, working together with the European Space Agency (ESA), I organized the first art exhibition in Earth orbit called Ars Ad Astra which sent 20 artworks from different artists to the Mir space station in the framework of ESA’s Euromir’95 mission.
My other works from this period include a proposal called the Orbiting Unification Ring Satellite (O.U.R.S.) to celebrate the new millennium by placing “a circle in the sky” in the year 2000 that would have been visible to the entire planet and the OUR – Space Peace Sculpture (OUR-SPS) dedicated to the idea of peace and cooperation in space during the 1992 International Space Year. This inflatable sculpture was actually constructed in the U.S.S.R. by the space agency NPO Energia in 1990, and was close to realization had not the Soviet Union collapsed.
My works have been exhibited in a number of international space and art exhibitions including Art Basel in 1987, 1988, and 1989 and at the International Astronautical Congresses in 1995 and 1997. More recently my works have been included in the following exhibitions: ”All Design - Leben im schwerelosen Raum", Museum für Gestaltung, Zürich, CH in 2001-2002, Abenteuer Raumfahrt. Aufbruch ins Weltall, Große Sonderausstellung des Landes Baden-Württemberg im Landesmuseum für Technik und Arbeit in Mannheim, DE in 2006-07, Falling Without Fear, The Harwood Museum of Art, Taos, New Mexico, USA in 2012-13, Kinetica Art Fair, London, UK, 2012 and at Free Enterprise: The Art of Citizen Space Exploration, California Museum of Photography, UCR-University of California Riverside, USA in 2013. This year, I was invited to be the AstroArtist for the month of April on the Astronomers Without Borders website where I submitted four documentary essays and an interview about my background, motivations, various projects and current activities.
In addition to these art activities I am the co-author of a socio-philosophical concept called “The Space Option” which proposes to utilize the immense resources of outer space to meet the needs of humanity on Earth. I maintain a dedicated website on this topic: www.thespaceoption.com
Greater Earth is an “art intervention” which exposes a new perception of our planet that is based on Earth's true cosmic dimensions as defined by the laws of physics. It is also a virtual environment and video blog where I am creating my own personal space program complete with rocket launchers, satellites and a space station where I will reside as the “resident artist”.
From this space station vantage point, I plan to broadcast regular commentaries, interviews and observations about events on Earth as seen and interpreted from the perspective of Earth orbit. Convincing and sophisticated computer generated video animations are combined with my intimate knowledge about space and how space activities can significantly contribute to addressing the many environmental, political and economic issues and challenges that civilization currently faces.
In the context of the Greater Earth art intervention a number of additional "art interventions" are currently being developed. These include:
- The Space Peace Star - an inflatable toroidal sculpture in the shape of Earth’s astronomical symbol - which promotes the idea that space is a viable alternative to war and is actually a re-manifestation of my earlier O.U.R.S projects.
- The Space Option Star - an inflatable icosahedron with a diameter of 100 m and covered with solar panels - which promotes the idea that solar energy harvested in space can solve humanity’s reliance on fossil fuels and addresses the CO2/Climate Change issue.
Both of these orbital sculptures - the Space Peace Star and the Space Option Star - are technically feasible, scientifically researched art objects which, when placed in Earth orbit, would be visible to viewers as a “star in the sky”. Both also have interactive components that would interface with audiences on Earth.
- The Send Our SEEDS intervention is designed to plant the seeds of Earth on other places in the solar system to insure that life will survive elsewhere if the conditions for life on Earth become inhospitable.
- The Cosmic Stones intervention plans to place naturally formed but artistically decorated artifacts on the space station, the Moon and eventually on Mars if possible.
- The GEO-Political Observatory (GEO-PO) is a virtual Earth observation satellite that focuses on the geopolitical events and developments that are affecting the state of civilization and the well-being of the citizens of Earth.