Festival

Michael Najjar – First Artist in Space

Posted August 14th, 2013

Festival

Michael Najjar - First Artist in Space
Michael Najjar is a German artist, adventurer and – future astronaut. Born in 1966, he has lived and worked in Berlin since 1988. His work is shown in museums, galleries and biennials around the world. Michael Najjar is widely seen as a visual futurist because the focus of his work is on key elements of our modern society driven and controlled by computer and information technologies. Najjar transmutes science, history and philosophy into visions and utopias of future social structures emerging under the impact of cutting-edge technologies. He works with Photography and Video.

For his new series entitled “outer space“ Michael Najjar will become the first contemporary artist in space. The purpose of this series is to introduce, nurture and expand an artistic and cultural dimension to humanity’s cur-rent and future astronautical endeavors. Najjar himself will undergo intensive cosmonaut training in russia, including jet fighter flights in the stratosphere, zero g and centrifuge training, spacewalk simulation and computer simulations on the soyuz spacecraft. The ultimate experience will be his own spaceflight as one of Richard Branson´s Virgin Galactic pioneer astronauts. His flight is scheduled for 2014/15.

On Air: Michael Najjar

The ikono On Air Festival is showing the following four films by Michael Najjar

spacewalk
Michael Najjar - First Artist in Space
The video work “spacewalk” explores linkages between space, gravity and the human body. A cosmonaut glides down into what seems to be an industrial ambience.
The sudden appearance of the globe of the earth through a port hole dislocates the cosmonaut´s environment and puts into question the relationship between real-world and fabricated reality. The cosmonaut´s meta voice re-flects fundamental thoughts about the relationship between space, time and movement. The text is based on Isaac Newton´s manuscript “De Gravitatione”, from the 17th century.
The work draws on a cosmonaut training session taken by Michael Najjar in December 2012 at the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center in Star City, Russia. The artist himself is performing the “spacewalk”.

The video work was produced in collaboration with Thomas Rusch and Dieter jaufmann.

the invisible city
Michael Najjar - First Artist in Space
The video work “the invisible city” is an exploration of the way global cities will develop in the future. Of similar magnitude to the impact of the industrial revolution in the late 19th century, it is now computer networks and the in-formation society based on them which are the main vehicles for change, the key elements transforming the face of our urban living spaces.
The digital fusion of panoramic views taken from different angles transforms the landscape into a woven fabric of relationships. The work shows the end-less ocean of information, an all pervasive network. A compression of space and time evoking intense and constantly growing global interconnectivity. The megacities New York, London, Berlin, Paris, Tokyo, São Paulo, Shanghai and Mexico City are appearing in the video.

no memory access
“no memory access” is a work which takes as its theme the disappearance of images from electronic storage banks and the simultaneity of reality and reality-simulations. Digital photography heralds a new era of the non-material, an era chiefly defined through the loss of the material location-based con-text. Images and the people appearing in them are now independent of a fixed spot and defined context. They disappear in the murky depths of electronic memory banks, ready to resurface at any time in another form and an-other context.
The motifs for “no memory access” were shot in different countries through-out the world. One frame shows people in interaction with their environment, the next frame shows the same location minus the people. The longer we contemplate it, the more we fall thrall to a phenomenon whereby a present reality suddenly absconds, becomes absent while inversely a non-present reality reveals itself partially in a simulated form. Where does reality lie?

the singularity
The key concept behind the video work “the singularity” is the future transformation and technological control of human evolution. The furious pace of development in the field of “g-r-i-n” technologies (genetics, robotics, information and nano-technology) is changing our bodies, our minds, our memories, our identities and even our posterity.
Technologies converge with the aim of improving human performance. Prenatal genetic determination means that children can be made to order while cloned bodies serve as repositories of ersatz organs and new types of body will be engineered by manipulation of the atomic structure of matter which will be far more robust, flexible and long-lived than the old ones. These new bodies will be engineered to live at the speed of data networks.
These new developments will allow us to control human evolution through genetic algorithms and neuronal networks and will elevate the human being to a new and far superior form of existence.
The eagle embodies Zeus, the divine privilege of creation. The machine represents control of creation by technology. The moment of transformation is the key metaphor for the technological transformation of the human body in its future post-human and possibly even immortal existence.

Links

- Homepage of Michael Najjar – www.michaelnajjar.com
- Carol Fletcher Gallery – www.carrollfletcher.com
- Galería JUAN SILIÓ – www.juansilio.com
- Studio La Citta – www.studiolacitta.it

Videos

Michael Najjar plans Virgin Galactic Space Travel

German media artist, Michael Najjar and Streaming Museum Curatorial Fellow, Tanya Toft discuss Najjar’s 2013 space flight on Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic.
Najjar talks about his training with Russian Astronauts for space flight, a United Nations charter for outer space, art installations on the moon … and much more.

How Art Envisions Our Future: Michael Najjar at TEDxKiruna

One of the central themes of Michael Najjar’s art is the telematic society. Focusing on key components of a society driven and controlled by computer and information technology.

Michael Najjar at Bitforms Gallery

Photo of Michael Najjar by Thomas Rusch. The video work was produced in collaboration with Thomas Rusch and Dieter Jaufmann.