I went along to Kosmica at the Arts Catalyst this evening, thanks to Töve being really rather brilliant at making sure I don't just lock myself in my studio all the time to draw and that I actually get out to do some things sometimes other than work or nipping down to Brighton to see a man about a dog.
It was a charming night, tucked away in a secretive venue above a glaring Foxtons on Clarkenwell Road that garishly had a disgusting amount of light pollution blaring out while three forlorn-looking estate agents worked away inside (they were all still there when we left after ten, still looking just as utterly full of total satisfaction with their job). A screen was set up and a few drinks and snacks were on offer while two talks were given and a performance piece was run. The first talk was about a series of projects undertaken by an artist whose work investigates the depths of the earth and the reaches of space, where she's made some incredibly beautiful pieces in heightened gravity and in simulated weightlessness during parabolic flights, but she's also explored different attempts to reach out into space, from the pathos of home-made rockets in the Mojave to the poetic beauty of attempts to use geese to lift a cosmonaut to the moon. Beautiful.
The performance was a wonderfully immersive experience where you picked out a piece of music (I chose Kate Bush, apparently so did most people during the evening) and the two women who'd made the piece lowered me back on a chair onto the floor so I could watch a film upside down about the lunar landing - the tale being told through animated pasta, performance, archive film and a poignant sense of just being out of place. It was brilliant. When they hefted me back upright again, I had such a massive grin on my face I could barely manage to giggle out my thanks to them as they gave me a hand-made badge to celebrate my voyage.
The final talk was another one I could also relate to, where an astronomer-turned artist and an illustrator-turned-astronomer talked about how they've begun collaborating on work together after a chance comment in the Norwegian landscape about colonising the moon. They spoke about the intersection between art and science and it sparked an interesting thought for me that I feverishly wrote down in my sketchbook in a way that'll probably make no sense to me when I look back at it later. They'd also been looking at what might be the scents of space, thinking about how astronauts had said their suits had smelled like gunpowder when they'd gone back into an atmosphere and from that thought had tried to replicate other smells of space.
I think I might need to relay some of this work back to the Observatory, seeing as I can still see the place from my bedroom; I'll feel guilty if I'm finding out about cool things like this and I'm not telling them about it.
You know? London's really not so bad, is it?