They Shall Have Stars is a group show looking to Space, to what may be the home for the ultimate human diaspora and considering our relative position and direction. The title of the show is borrowed from a James Blish novel, the first of his Cities in Flight series in which a new interstellar civilisation occurs. They Shall Have Stars is a title with a grand claim imbued with ambition and inference of inevitability. We live in a time when science fiction continues to become reality: 2015 saw water found on Mars and the discovery of Exoplanet Kepler-452b, Earth’s closest twin. Data from deep space is regularly received on Earth and even hoverboards are now on the market.
Each artist in the show is thinking about our place in the universe, from communicating with it, listening to it, pressing at its edges or preparing for a new way of life with work by Simon Faithfull, ELK and Cassini Sound, Joshua WF Thomson and Agnes Meyer-Brandis.
The exhibition begins with a chair leaving Earth. Simon Faithfull’s Escape Vehicle no. 6 (2004) shows footage of a domestic chair attached to a weather balloon journeying 30km up into the edge of space. Up, up it goes, the empty chair inviting us to imagine taking the trip beyond the clouds to see the curvature of the Earth and blackness of space only to be ripped apart in the minus 60°C.
Lonely Speck, Cosmic Dark is a collaboration between design studio ELK and Cassini Sound. They have synthesised deep space data from NASA into audible and tangible forms. Visitors can listen to sounds of the universe from the droning bass notes of Jupiter to the gentle patter of a lightning storm on Saturn on bespoke MP3 players. For the artists, the sounds are tinged with an uneasy bleakness reinforcing the fact that there are millions of miles of lonely cold, black space between us and the origin of each piece.
In 1977 NASA launched Voyager complete with a Golden Record containing sounds and images portraying life and culture on Earth to anyone, or anything, that might find them. Platinum Metres is artist and musician Joshua WF Thomson’s reworking of this epic mission. On 4 August 2013 Platinum Metres was blasted into Space from the Japanese Tanegashima Space Centre onboard a nano-satellite toward the International Space Station where it docked before being sent into orbit on 20 November 2013. Copies of the record and supporting films about the endeavour are shown at NN so we can share Joshua’s love letter to the vinyl format and tribute to the Golden Record.
The final work in the exhibition is the documentary film The Moon Goose Colony by Agnes Meyer-Brandis. The artist has developed an on-going narrative based on the book The Man in the Moone written by bishop Francis Godwin in 1638 in which the protagonist flies to the Moon in a chariot towed by ‘moon geese’. Meyer-Brandis has actualised this concept by raising eleven moon geese from birth in Italy, giving them astronaut’s names, imprinting them on herself as goose-mother, training them to fly and taking them on expeditions and housing them in a remote Moon analogue habitat.
This project is part of NN’s Ways to think about diaspora season. They Shall Have Stars runs concurrently with the offsite project Filaments from the Dandelion Clock.
A series of events will accompany the exhibition including a Science Fiction readings and panel discussion featuring Donna Scott (Writer and Chair of the British Science Fiction Association), Ian Whates (Writer and Founder of NewCon Press) and special guests.
12 November 2015, 7 pm
NN hosts the Crit Group for artists at all stages of their career to come together to discuss their work in progress.
From Art To Commerce: 1-2-1 sessions
21 November 2015, 11-5 pm – Booking Essential
Artists and makers are invited to book in for a 45-minute individual business session with Development Director Tracey Clarke. To book your slot please email Tracey@NNContemporaryArt.org.
27 November 2015, 7 pm
Write Club is for anyone wanting to brush up on their art writing from artist statements to critical texts, get together for peer critique over a coffee. This session will look at artist statement writing. For further information contact Catherine Hemelryk, Catherine@ NNContemporaryArt.org.
27 November 2015, 8 pm
A social night to bring together anyone and everyone working in the creative sector across Northamptonshire.
CALL FOR IMAGES: bring a memory stick with images of your work to become part of the slide show that is the backdrop for the event.
Speaking of Stars: Science Fiction writers discuss the future of humans in Space
4 December 2015, 7 pm
Join us for a series of readings and panel discussion from leading science fiction writers featuring Donna Scott (Author and Chair of the British Science Fiction Association) and Ian Whates (Author and Founder of NewCon Press).
From Art To Commerce: Workshop
5 December 2015, 11 am–1 pm
Returning to its usual format of a group drop-in workshop, FATC will meet in this two-hour session led by NN’s Development Director Tracey Clarke. This workshop is for artists and makers at all stages of their career wanting to turn their creative ideas into viable businesses. For further information contact Tracey at Tracey@NNContemporaryArt.org.