Ground Control: An Opera in Space at the V&A

Stylesight, April 2013

On Friday evening, visitors to the Victoria & Albert Museum in London were treated to a preview of the International Space Orchestra’s performance film Ground Control: An Opera in Space.

Words by Philippa Wagner, read full article here

Led by design provocateur Nelly Ben Hayoun, the International Space Orchestra is the world’s first orchestra composed of space scientists, which invites participants to “implement, deconstruct, perform, sing, mix, modify and design musical acts, and adapt science to our creative needs.”

Shot at NASA’s Ames Research Center in California, in front of the world’s largest wind tunnel, the film re-enacts the drama of Apollo 11’s control rooms. To accompany the film preview, the Penguin Café performed songs such as, “Wow Signal – 1420 fanfare,” based on the signal received by the Big Ear radio telescope in 1977, as well as instrumentals inspired by David Bowie songs. The performance was part of the V&A’s Friday Late series, and coincided with the museum’s current exhibition, David Bowie Is.

In May, the International Space Orchestra will perform with Beck at the San Francisco’s Davies Symphony Hall as part of the “Song Reader” live event, curated by Pop-Up Magazine and San Francisco-based publishers McSweeney’s.

Having already had its world premiere at the prestigious Rotterdam International Film Festival, the ISO feature documentary will be shown in May at the Hackney Picture House in London.

Read our recent In The Air report, Another Terra, which explores how designers and artists are currently looking to create a more democratic and cultural investigation of space. – Babette Radclyffe-Thomas & Samantha Fox