Street art invading ESA
After appearing in the Columbus laboratory on the International Space Station, mosaic artwork has been popping up this year at ESA establishments on the ground and has now arrived at our headquarters.
The pixelated artwork of space and pop-culture icons is a project by French artist known only as ‘Invader’. The arrival of the art at ESA Headquarters in Paris, France, is a return to home for him. From Paris, his art appeared in major cities around the world before being taken to the edge of space on a balloon in 2012.
With ESA’s help, Invader’s art went global when ESA astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti installed a mosaic on the Space Station’s European laboratory in January.
After landing this month, Samantha will see more pieces of the Space Invader project at her home base at ESA’s astronaut centre in Cologne, Germany. One mosaic was installed in the centre’s water tank where astronauts practise spacewalks.
The artwork was then found at ESA’s control centre in Darmstadt, Germany, where our satellites are monitored and commanded, including the Rosetta comet-chaser.
The mosaics spread to Redu, in the Belgian Ardennes, which controls and checks out many ESA satellites after launch, and home to ESA’s Space Weather Data Centre. Redu is one of ESA’s 11 tracking stations in seven countries around the world that keep their dishes trained on space.
Crossing national borders
ESA’s strategy and policies are developed and steered in Paris by its 22 Member States. From here, decisions are made that shape our activities to achieve more than any Member could do individually.
The installation of Invader’s art links the international character of ESA working on the frontiers of knowledge to use space for humanity’s benefit while fostering Europe’s competitiveness and growth.
More ESA sites are expected to follow – perhaps at our technical heart in the Netherlands, or at our new centre for space applications and telecommunications in the UK. The space invaders may travel south to our Earth observation centre near Rome, Italy, or head towards Spain for our space astronomy centre near Madrid.
Follow the progress of Invader’s installations via Twitter with #space2iss and #SpaceInvader.
Samantha launched a competition from space for children under 12, encouraging them to create their own mosaics. Inspired by space-related topics, the mosaics will be judged by Samantha and Invader, and the 10 best entries will be showcased at future ESA events.
The competition was accompanied by an inspiring guide for primary school teachers, packed with creative ideas on how to teach children about pixels through art and science.