space art project by Arthur Woods
The Cosmic Dancer is a sculpture by Swiss-American artist Arthur
Woods that was launched into space in May 1993 and became a fixture in
the Russian Mir space station.
The Cosmic Dancer
Sculpture is the first three-dimensional artwork purposely designed for
and officially integrated into a human habitat beyond Earth.
After its arrival, cosmonauts Gennadi Manakov and Alexander Polishchuk
allowed the Cosmic Dancer to freely float and spin in their living
space aboard Mir. They were instructed by Woods to evaluate the impact
of having art share their weightless environment. They made a
photographic and video documentation of their interaction with the
Cosmic Dancer and recorded a commentary of their experience. "The form
of the sculpture is original, angular and avant garde, and inspires
diverse thoughts and fantasies," said Polishchuk. "One can see in this
figure any being one wants. Therefore it is interesting to look at and
Cosmic Dancer is a curious sculpture, angular and unusual from the
classical understanding of art. Nevertheless it gave us pleasure.
think that such works of art are not only important to the artists who
send them into space but also for us, who simply feel comfort from
cosmonaut Alexander Polishchuk with Arthur Woods' Cosmic Dancer
sculpture on the Mir space station in 1993
About the importance of putting art in space, Woods says,
"Today, humanity is confronted by a growing number of political and
environmental challenges that will ultimately determine its survival
and success as a species.
"Continued space development
and exploration offers humanity the most optimistic option to survive
and prosper. Yet, only when society becomes fully aware of the
importance of space activities to their lives and to their future, will
the hopes and dreams of humanity have a chance to become a reality.
short, the future of human civilization and, indeed, even the survival
of humanity as a species is at stake. Thus, an expanded cultural
dimension to human activities in space is desperately needed just as
humanity is in need of expanding its presence beyond Earth - an idea
long overdue for both art and space development.
learn more about Arthur Woods' Cosmic Dancer project,
take the flying saucer to his website
Catch a ride on the
flying saucer back
to the Outer Space Art Gallery homepage