Amplifier for Art, Science and Society

Defying Gravity

Students shooting for the Moon

EPFL Pavilions and CDH Culture present Defying Gravity, an exhibition showcasing the work done under the project Asclepios. This project was conceived by the EPFL student association Space@yourService, whose objective is to make space sciences more accessible to the public.

The name Asclepius refers to the Greek god of medicine, the central figure of the healer holding a serpent in the constellation of Ophiuchus vel Serpentarius. In the present imagining, Asclepios is the name of a project initiated in August 2019 whose aim is to organize a mission simulating a space expedition. It is one of the first initiatives in the world to propose an analog mission to space, an initiative developed entirely by students, for students. With the help of academic institutions, scientists, as well as industry support, the Space@yourService EPFL student organization conceived and set in motion a set of training sessions on top of a frozen lake deep in the Swiss mountains, the full mission to take place in July 2021.

The Space@yourService student association’s work on this project is presented through the eyes and esthetics of the Geneva-based painter Nicolas Fournier via a nine-meter-long frieze, complimented by photos and videos taken by photography student, Justine Willa.

Detail from Nicolas Fournier's Space Launch System, 2021 - Oil on Paper, 910 cm x 126 cm - Credit: Nicolas Fournier

Ethereal, almost monochromatic paintings are surrounded by video and photography, taking the visitor on a tour de force into what it takes to live under a different sky. Defying Gravity provides a reflection on what is at stake beyond a first mission. It is a mirror, a conceptual journey for all those that prepare for outer space missions, this transporting into the unknown situations and circumstances, this prepping for all those unexpected things to come.

The Asclepios astronaut suit surveys the exhibition from up high, as if launched in space by the Nicolas Fournier’s Space Launch System frieze.

Defying Gravity opens, very appropriately, on May 4. May the force be with the Asclepios and Space@yourService students as they prepare for their actual mission in July.

Asclepios project photos. Credit: Justine Willa, ECAL

On-site visits:
Due to the sanitary restrictions, the on-site visits are limited to 15 visitors each half-hour. Pre-booking is strongly recommended.