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. A watchful space suit hangs up from the rafters, peacefully watching the preparations for all the excitement ahead.

Detail from Nicolas Fournier's Space Launch System, 2021 - Credit: Nicolas Fournier - Space Launch System - Oil on paper - 910x126 cm

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.

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

Asclepios project photos. Credit: Justine Willa

Image credits:
Nicolas Fournier - Space Launch System - Oil on paper - 910x126 cm
Justine Willa, ECAL

Article adapted from the FR article wrote by Veronique Mauron, CDH-Culture
EN text and adaptation: Monica Antohi, EPFL Pavilions

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