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Curator and moderator for Meta.Morf 2016’s conference “It’s nice to be in orbit!”.
Kosmorama, Nova Cinema, movie theatre # 9, March 12, 2016.

“It’s nice to be in orbit!”

Article by Dr. Rachel Armstrong(UK)

A haunting fragment of conversation captured between Houston ground control and an unnamed astronaut on the Discovery shuttle that observes, “It’s nice to be in orbit”, is remarkable in its ordinariness. Indeed, it has become the title of this fourth Trondheim Biennale for art and technology, Meta.Morf 2016, in signaling how we’ve begun to normalize the idea of living beyond the Earth’s atmosphere, which is regarded as our conventional limits of existence.

We have already continually inhabited the International Space Station for sixteen years, the first extraterrestrial home. Yet, since Sputnik 1 was launched into orbit in 1957, we have been sending machines to steadily extend our presence further into interplanetary space. Now these probes are even set to venture beyond the heliosphere and journey onwards into interstellar space, where we will most likely lose contact with them.

Yet there is no single reason ‘why’ we choose to leave our home planet.

Rachel Armstrong

Rachel Armstrong, professor of Experimental Architecture at Newcastle University, designs lifelike environments for the built environment using technologies that manipulate the building blocks of life such as synthetic biology and smart chemistry. Rachel Armstrong is TWOTY Futurist of the year 2015 and a 2010 Senior TED Fellow. Her new book, Vibrant Architecture (Matter as CoDesigner of Living Structures), explores prospects for transformations of matter into habitable structures, which prompts a re-evaluation of how we think about sustainability in our homes and cities.
[The book can be downloaded as a PDF for free from the DeGruyter Open website Vibrant Architecture]


Rachel Armstrong