Space culture network initiative - SCN

Mars Rocks 2004 The Mars rocks framework organizes a network and events that connect the scientific perspective on space exploration with fine arts and public culture. The concept manifested first in july 2004 in Berlin:

A specially constructed habitat was built up beneath the wall that once separated the west from the east block. The two week event included presentations and workshops in sculpture, happening, electronic music, engineering and debate. Follow-up events are being organised for 2008 and 2009 in Cologne.

Conceptually the event shifted the focus away from the scientific field over to the cultural and social conditions. Instead of searching fossiles in rocks we asked what future culture would drive human beings to go to Mars and what this means for the ones that stay.

The next logical step is connecting to similar projects, on a european level. Talks were held in 2003 and 2004 within the Mars Society which has chapters in many european countries. But the Mars Society, while being a positive example of a civil society space organisation, mainly focuses on the possible scientific missions, their motivation and technology.

What does not yet exist and what we propose here is a social and technical networking process to connect among cultural activities, projects and organisations that refer to space. "Culture" is to be understood in the broadest sense here. It comprises all fields that are not scientifically motivated: Fine arts, public culture, economy, education, possibly also religion and policy.

Communication in and about this kind of network could be an incentive that may bring forward each participating project. Being part of the network could provide synergies for participants, in terms of mutual inspiration, exchange of resources and public outreach.

But what is still needed is coordination and quality-setting. Possibly this could be handled by the existing space agencies, for europe ESA or their national partners. With their experience in public relations as well as quality management they might be helpful partners, without leaving their given focus on scientific projects.

A new label for such kind of network will have to be defined. It would work as a quality seal for space-referring culture projects, helping them in acquisition of partners and sponsors. Also the rules and techniques for the granting of this seal, or possibly further classfication, have to be discussed.

Bernd Brincken, May 30, 2008 - contact


This approach was now commented negative by the ESA and DLR agencies, saying there were a) cultural projects by themselves partly (with events such as ILA in Berlin acutally being close to a popular trade fair appearance) and they would b) possibly only be interested in "highest class art" events, being defined through "recognized artist names", i.e. celebrities or c) culture was just not their business.

Alas, the initiative for forming an international cooperation and organisation based on a broader perspective that is not confined to science is handed over to us - artists, interdisciplinary workers and media managers.
The Space Culture Network (SCN) is hereby proposed as one form of this work.

Bernd Brincken, August 11, 2008 -

  • Was trägt man im Weltraum? - on the conference "Less Remote – The Futures of Space Exploration" in Glasgow in Sept. 2008:
    "Wiederholt beklagten die Referenten die ablehnende Haltung des Raumfahrt-Mainstreams gegenüber kulturellen Fragestellungen."
    (Participants complained repeatedly about the dismissive attitude of the mainstream space organisations towards cultural approaches.)
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