Details of the interior design of the Soyuz orbital module, variant 1 1964
© Archives Galina Balashova

Inhabiting the Extra-terrestrial Space

September 2018 to August 2021

Leading institution: HEAD – Genève
Project manager: Christophe Kihm
Applicant: Christophe Kihm
Team: Jill Gasparina, Floriane Germain, Anne-Lyse Renon
Partner: Gérard Azoulay, Observatoire de l'Espace-CNES
Financing: FNS

Over the course of its history, space research has designed and carried out projects to inhabit extra-terrestrial space for the short and long-term. This spatial architecture has developed in relation to other architectural practices, feature films and artistic projects which space researchers have been associated with.

Studying the forms and understanding the challenges of the extra-terrestrial habitat opens up a new chapter in cultural history that builds on the ongoing relationship between images drawn from space research, architecture, cinema and visual arts. This perspective highlights the historical circulation of these images and incorporates the artistic and architectural work within research that relates to being torn away from Earth.

The “Inhabiting the Extra-terrestrial Space” project will aim to highlight how, as they renew themselves in different fields, space research images end up modifying their mode of existence and scope, and the transformations that occur thanks to this movement of images within the objects they describe and the concepts they rely on: hostility, hospitality, floating, mobile, capsular, modular… Firstly, it will enhance and rely on a corpus of images of extra-terrestrial architecture. Secondly, it will reproduce and reflect on the circulation of these images between different spheres of knowledge. Thirdly, it will assess the scope of these shifts and the migration of their underlying concepts.

Space research combines the complementary areas of expertise and knowledge to design and create its objects. Our approach is based on the idea of sharing knowledge with the aim of identifying issues that could be of use in different fields. Since the extra-terrestrial habitat, such as we have defined it relies on the relationship between documents and scientific and artistic objects, its study requires this type of multidisciplinary approach.

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