Re-Imagining Outer Space

Outer space offers a different scale and perspective for exploring Earth-related issues and shaping understandings of the “real world”.

However, only 12 men have stood on the Moon and only around 540 people have ever been to space. For the rest of us, experiencing this outer space perspective depends on imagery and fiction, poetic leaps and artistic choices.

And yet, concerning outer space exploration and industry today, there remains a singular, dominating, Apollo-era imagination of what space and humanity are. How can this be disrupted, and how can human futures in outer space and on Earth be reimagined in new ways?

“Re-imagining Outer Space” is a collaboration between artists and designers Joseph Popper, Sitraka Rakotoniaina and design students from HEAD University in Geneva.

With guidance from Popper and Rakotoniaina, the students accomplished a range of design processes to imagine, prototype and produce their personal visions of human futures in outer space. The final results were short science fiction films describing speculative scenarios - from a Moon colony to a crewed spacecraft traveling toward Alpha Centauri.

The films center on future space characters developed by the students, each interpreting possible motivations to go to space: such as survival, progress, profit or environmental concerns.

The imagined scenarios were materialised in different media, from building sets and making props at 1:1 scale. By producing their personal visions of outer space futures, the students were able to explore historic themes and contemporary motivations of spaceflight and present ideas in contrast to more “normative” narratives populating space exploration today. Through rapid prototyping and playful storytelling, they created engaging and meaningful reimaginings of outer space.