Real Space

Rita Cachao, Amanda Egbe and Joanna Griffin

Informed by the research from three different perspectives, this seminar will develop a dialogue concerned with the gaps and frictions surrounding a variety of discourses of Space. Through illustration, demonstration and discussion the seminar will present how the subtleties of space emerge, through technologies, man (beings) and ultimately the world at a meta-level.

Amanda Egbe will examine the relationship between space and place, in cinema and architecture. Exploring amongst others the tactics of expanded and experimental cinema, and the attempts to demystify the relationship between viewer and film, the screen emerges as a lever to realise notions of presentness, immersion and reality. Going beyond being just a metaphor of being in space, or a relation of subject to object, the screen can offer a powerful way in which space can be explored, experienced and expressed, as well as the architectures of the cinema in which that exploration takes place.

Joanna Griffin will be discussing the interior spaces of Mission Operations/Control rooms, the control centres from which rockets are launched, commands are sent to satellites and data from satellites is downloaded. She will use ideas from experimental film that refer to the space between the viewer and the screen to look at the spatial relation that mission operations personnel have with the cosmos, from this room. This place of connection with the cosmos happens through a technology that dynamically crosses the threshold from the terrestrial environment we can experience with our bodies, to a conjectured environment in which our bodies would vapourise! Can the experience be described in any way as cinematic? While space technologies create a connection to deeper realms of outer space, the mission control room can be seen as breaking the continuous space and direct experience of the cosmos that we have when we look at the night sky. How does the viewer experience this extension through technology into space and does cosmos become more intellectual and less meaningful as a result?

Rita Cachão will discuss hand-drawn scientific illustrations as a mediation that opens up a debate about viewing and its role on our understandings of space. In the first instance it could be said that these type of scientific illustrations act as a mediator between the scientist and the object of study, however at a deeper level what it reveals are paradigms and theories that are dependent on the knowledge validated by the sciences. Yet the process that brings about the image is led by a subjective being and their response to daily experience. As a consequence, scientific illustration can often reveal a disturbance between the subjectivity inherent to the making of a drawing and the scientific standards of objectivity. The apparent paradox is nevertheless crucial in the understanding and transfer of scientific ideas which are always rigourously edited versions of daily (felt) experience.