New Directions in Space Art
New developments in the space industry, falling costs and a diversity of launch platforms are altering the conditions of access to space. The thesis examines to what extent cultural practice is enabled by these new relations. A brief historical overview details the cultural use of space and highlights the history of art satellites. This provides context for a detailed discussion of a satellite artwork by the author, "The Weight of Information". Auto-ethnographic and design-ethnographic techniques are used to explore the artwork through four situations. The setting of interfaces, form factors, boundaries and miniaturisation are found to be enabling mechanisms for cultural practice in space, while the developing space debris regulatory environment is found to provide a practical limit to further miniaturisation of space craft. The tension between the personal and infrastructural is examined through different concepts of entanglement. Strategies of tragedy, participation and correspondence that address issues of accessibility and contingency specific to cultural practice in the orbital environment are explored. Recommendations are made for practitioners wishing to work with art satellites. It is concluded that new developments in the space industry are enabling of future cultural practice in space.