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The Contour of Presence

The Contour of Presence


Interactive sculpture

ESA, ISU, Space Application Services

"This project started with the International Space University and Space Application Services to try a new system that allows interaction with payloads. We started working on an artwork that will use this technology for the very first time. I wanted to create something abstract and ethereal with no reference of scale or dimensions. I decided to create a kind of kaleidoscopic sculpture, with mirrors, lights and motors, all of which could be controlled from Earth. I liked the idea of framing this project as an encounter with this ethereal presence to examine what it means to be here and there. This was ideal for a one-to-one performance situation, but at the same time this could be an installation, with a story, and yes, a payload in space. So you, as a person, will enter a room, and first you will have to switch it on, this entity, that is circulating around you, around the Earth, and it will tell you a story, and it will ask you difficult questions about you. I like to say it will be a show that is about you, about what it means to be you, here, now, how you can exist, or not exist. In the end, it is a reflection of the politics of existence and how being here is not an individual affair.

The actual payload was built at ISU, and some of their brightest students contributed to its development. So we’ve been developing all the technology from zero, using rapid prototyping, 3D printing and laser cutting, and it was amazing that we could build the first prototype in a short period of time. Of course, it was more complicated for the final piece. We had to go through different tests, for vibrations, radiations, technical concerns and various assessments for all the electrical components. The artwork launched by SpaceX in Cape Canaveral will be installed by an astronaut. ESA is in charge of this part. After the mission, we’re going to get the artwork back to Earth, which is very rare. We hope it will be at the ISS for six months. During that period, it will be presented in museums in various countries."


Technical information:

Artwork name:

The Contour of Presence







This work is part of the following collection:


Interactive sculpture





IAAA Art Style:

Launch vehicle / mission:

SpaceX Falcon 9 / CRS-15

Host spacecraft / hardware:

International Space Station



Launch location:

Cape Canaveral

Launch date:

28 Jun 2018

Orbit / space location:

LEO, International Space Station (ISS)

Return vehicle:

End date:



Client / Agency:

ESA, ISU, Space Application Services



Artist, musician




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