NSC teams up with Cork arts centre for ‘out of this world’ art project

28 Jul 2021

EU-B54 satellite dish. Image: National Space Centre

The National Space Centre and Cork’s Greywood Arts are looking for a resident artist to create a sculpture using discarded space materials.

The National Space Centre (NSC) has partnered with Greywood Arts to launch an open call for a space waste artist residency.

The artist who is chosen will create a sculpture using debris produced by the acceleration of space technology. They will work with materials provided by the NSC, including panels from the decommissioned 13-metre EU-B54 satellite ground communications dish, as well as discarded circuit boards, assemblies and data subframes.

Originally erected to carry traffic from Cyprus through Cork to North America via New York, EU-B54 has transmitted billions of gigabytes of communications data to satellites orbiting Earth. The dish was operational for 30 years and it will be commemorated in the artist’s work. A new dish was erected earlier this year in its place.

“This is a pivotal time in space exploration,” said NSC CEO Rory Fitzpatrick, explaining the reasoning behind the project, which is supported by Cork County Council.

He added: “We’re looking at manned Martian exploration in the near future, while Jeff Bezos and Richard Branson have launched space tourism as a viable industry. At the same time, there are more than 125m pieces of space garbage orbiting our planet. It’s an ideal moment to examine questions around our responsibility to live sustainably not only on Earth, but beyond it.”

The selected artist will spend a month in residence at Greywood Arts to develop the work that emerges.

Jessica Bonenfant, artistic director at Greywood Arts, said: “The residency is a unique chance to repurpose technological components that can’t be recycled and see what emerges creatively from space waste.”

The international invitation to artists closes on 22 August, and the selected artist will take up residency for the month of November.

The artwork will be exhibited at the NSC in early December, launching the centre’s 10th birthday celebrations.

The National Space Centre, which provides carrier-grade teleport facilities from Elfordstown Earth station near Midleton in Co Cork is in charge of Europe’s most westerly teleport centre.

For information on the residency and how to apply, check out the Greywood Arts website.

Blathnaid O’Dea is Careers reporter at Silicon Republic