Amplifier for Art, Science and Society
  • Symposium

Cosmos Archaeology symposium: Encounters between art and science


EPFL Pavilions
Pavilion A


From the dawn of human civilization, we have looked at the sky to explore its secrets. Some stargazers would go on to pursue scientific knowledge of the Universe, as astrophysicists, astronomers, astronauts, or engineers. Others would interpret or document it as artists or historians. All these endeavours are devoted to exploring or representing the cosmos. And for every person involved, the Universe is an infinite source of research and wonder.

  • Speakers

Giacomo Alliata | Simone Aubert | Pascal Bettex | Florian Cabot | Lily Hibberd | Anna Hoetjes | Sarah Kenderdine | Jean-Paul Kneib | Theodore Kruczek | Cath le Couteur | Sylvestre Maurice | Michel Mayor | Lionel Métrailler | Sebastian Neitsch | Claude Nicollier | Yves Revaz | Claudia Schnugg | Virginia Trimble | Florian Voggeneder

This symposium is an opportunity for space explorers from all walks of life to meet and share their diverse knowledge. They will also be able to discover how their practices, so different on the surface, might complement each other.
Organized for the Cosmos Archaeology exhibition, presented at EPFL Pavilions from 16 September 2022 to 5 February 2023, the event brings together eminent personalities from the worlds of art and science around four themes, central to the exhibition.


  • 9:00 am — 10:30 am
    Session 1: Exploring the dynamic Universe

Delve deeper into the questions at the core of Cosmos Archaeology. How might the exhaustive scientific exploration of the cosmos be made accessible to the wider public? How can the many terabytes of numeric or abstract astrophysics data accumulated through observation and simulation be rendered tangible? How can new digital technologies be harnessed to foster greater immediacy, immersion and interaction with scientific data for both researchers and amateurs? Some of these interrogations were notably what prompted the initial two-year research collaboration between EPFL’s Laboratory for Experimental Museology (eM+), directed by Prof. Sarah Kenderdine, and Laboratory of Astrophysics (LASTRO) directed by Prof. Jean-Paul Kneib. Both of them will share their experience during this session, together with Yves Revaz and Florian Cabot.

Cosmos Archaeology: Exploration in time and space
Sarah Kenderdine (eM+/EPFL Pavilions)

Observation of the Universe in 3D - going back in time!
Jean Paul Kneib (LASTRO, EPFL)

Beyond the Earth: what simulations teach us?
Yves Revaz (LASTRO, EPFL)

Visualization of cosmological big data
Florian Cabot (SCITAS, EPFL)

Archaeology of Light (movie)

  • 10:40 am — 12:30 pm
    Session 2: Arts of the Universe

Delve into artistic visions of space as several Cosmos Archaeology artists talk about their work. Among many fascinating themes is the artists’ use of sophisticated scientific data to create unique material or digital installations. Simone Aubert and Sylvestre Maurice will share their sounds from Mars, Lily Hibberd and Anna Hoetjes will present their paintings and sculptures inspired by radar imaging data from Venus, and Florian Voggeneder his photographs of analog space missions. Finally Pascal Bettex will present his kinetic universe from his creation for the plates used by astrophysicists to target light emitted by millions of galaxies.

The Entanglement of Space and Art
Claudia Schnugg

Analog Missions
Florian Voggeneder

Scanning the Surface of Venus: from satellite to canvas
Lily Hibberd

A Feeling of Space
Anna Hoetjes

Sounds from Mars
Simone Aubert

Sounds of the Universe
Sylvestre Maurice

Kinetic space
Pascal Bettex

  • 2:30 pm — 4:00 pm
    Session 3: Discovering the impact of humans in space

Cosmos Archaeology foregrounds the problem of space pollution through scientific and artistic visualizations that reveal the ever-increasing clutter of debris and manufactured satellites orbiting the Earth. Theodore Kruczek works on data visualization, while the Quadrature project and the Adrift project propose unique artistic interpretations. Clearspace develops a pioneering mission to remove debris from Earth orbit. Presentations from the creators of these installations will open-up debate around the environmental impact humans beyond Earth and the sustainable and equitable future of space exploration.

Satellites and debris visualization
Theodore Kruczek

Sputnik to Starlink, why we need to talk about satellites
Sebastian Neitsch

Adrift, Weaving together Science and Imagination
Cath le Couteur

Cleaning Up
Lionel Métrailler (ClearSpace)

  • 4:10 pm— 5.30 pm
    Session 4: Meeting Space heroes

Cosmos Archaeology celebrates the achievements of space explorers known for their missions or discoveries such as the astrophysicist Jocelyn Bell, who was acknowledged decades after her discovery of pulsars, or the first African American astronaut Edward Dwight, who was not allowed to pursue any space missions. Claude Nicollier, the only Swiss astronaut to have taken part in four space missions, and Virginia Trimble, Professor of Physics & Astronomy at the University of California and author of The Sky is for Everyone, and Michel Mayor, Nobel Prize for the discovery of exoplanets, will be present to share their story as well as their vision of the evolution of space exploration alongside improvements to inclusion and diversity.

Space for a better view of the Cosmos
Claude Nicollier

Designing the Archive
Giacomo Alliata

Billions of planets in the Milky Way: the quest for Earth Twins and maybe life
Michel Mayor

On the Far Side of the Glass Ceiling, the Sky is for Everyone
Virginia Trimble