The Zero-Gravity Band
We are in the midst of the spatial technological revolution with the ultimate goal of sending humans to live outside the planet Earth. It’s time to investigate and experiment its potential cultural implications. How will art and its perception change when we are no longer restricted to the physical laws which planet Earth imposes on us?
The concepts of music and art interpreted and generated in contexts of micro gravity, present a new paradigm in the history of humanity. Humans by nature are intrinsically associated with gravity; if we eliminate gravity during the creative process, we realize that the way to create music and art changes completely. This paradigm shift causes a series of chain effects which have never been raised until now.
The artistic and scientific project, The Zero-Gravity Band aims to reflect and theorize on how artistic production and aesthetic perception are influenced by the gravitational forces of the planet Earth; research and design materials for the realization of plastic and musical creations in situations of zero gravity and also a series of intelligent “space” suits, to be used in this kind of conditions; finally, produce an artistic-immersive creation with the results of the investigation.
The experimentation for the artistic-immersive creation and the design of prototypes took place during a parabolic flight. On this type of flight, the plane flies at an altitude of 6000 to 8000 meters and the pilots perform between 15 and 45 parabolas, during which the passengers are in microgravity for 22 seconds per parabola. Each phase of microgravity is preceded and followed by a hypergravity phase of 20 seconds each, where passengers are exposed to gravitational force about twice their weight (1.8 G).
This project has been conceptualized by Dr. Albert Barqué-Duran, contemporary artist and researcher at the City University of London and Marc Marzenit , composer and music producer, with the scientific participation of Dra. Elisa R. Ferrè, director of the VeME Lab (Vestibular Multisensory Embodiment at the Royal Holloway University of London). The recent research by Dr. Elisa R. Ferrè on how humans perceive and experience aesthetics under conditions of microgravity, has an important role in how the project was developed.
This initiative has been made possible thanks to the collaboration of researchers and artists from scientific, technological and artistic centres in Germany, the United States and the United Kingdom.
TELEMETRON, an instrument for use on board a spacecraft or in outer space. Created by Nicole L’Huillier and Sands Fish.
The Telemetron is a unique way of performing music that exploits the poetics of zero gravity and opens up a new field of musical creativity. The project attempts to expand expression beyond the limits of earthbased instruments and performers.
The Telemetron was played for the first time during the inaugural Media Lab Space Exploration Initiative’s Zero G flight. This instrument is a clear dodecahedron chamber that contains customized “chimes” containing gyroscopes. The chimes emit their telemetry as they spin and collide. Sensors record the position, direction, and spin of each chime. These elements create the composition. The performers play the instrument by moving it in space, shaking it, colliding it. The performance can be recorded to be experienced on earth or used as a live instrument during future space flights. The instrument can be played inside space craft or in the vacuum of space without the benefit of sound waves.
The artistic project at Sónar+D
The Zero-Gravity Band is a sound-light creation inside a immersive environment 360 °that aims to induce the audience zero-gravity sensations, similar to those that are outside the planet Earth. The experience takes place inside a dome 11 meters diameter – created by Portable Multimedia Solutions and Eurecat – and has unprecedented 3D sound characteristics.
This sound-light creation born from the Marc Marzenit musical composition, with a 3D sound system and has been inspired, mixed and enriched, from the creation that the musician made during a parabolic flight in a micro-gravity situation. The light creation, designed by Playmodes based on the protocols developed by Albert Barqué-Duran, explores a series of audiovisual impulses that interact with human perception and the cognitive system in order to create floating sensations. This, is integrated into the dome inside structure generating a geometric pattern that together with the sound creation envelops the viewer.
In addition to the installation, TZGB exhibits the prototypes designed to perform artistic and musical creations in situations of zero gravity and an intelligent “space suits”.
SMART SUITS DESIGNED TO BE WORN IN ZERO GRAVITY. Designed by Denise Graus, Toni Sobrino and Masha Novikova, former students of the Higher Diploma in Fashion Design and BA (Hons) in Fashion Design, under the tutorship of Francesc Grau and Tatiana de la Fuente. IED Barcelona Design University.
SOFT WEARABLE to detect, monitor and provide data about the physiological state: Paul Lacharmoise, Rosa Rodríguez, Joan García, Fabián García. Eurecat
The suits are designed to be worn in zero gravity, taking as their reference the thesis “The aesthetic of verticality: a gravitational contribution to aesthetic preference” (Gallagher and Ferrè, 2018). Their designs are devised from a 360º aesthetic perspective, offering different, thought-provoking outlines and shapes according to the conditions of gravity in which they are worn. To do so, they use textures, volumes and transparencies to make the suits dynamic and change perception of them in movement.
Technical and futuristic materials combine with other, more earthly ones such as raffia, straw, seeds and dried flowers to evoke the earth/space binomial and give the artists a technological terrestrial melancholy. The fabrics are manipulated to incorporate these tiny earthly souvenirs which may also, if possible, serve to create life on another planet. They have also designed prints inspired by different elements of the blue planet, such as water, the light pollution of big cities, and industrialised areas.
These suits are equipped to incorporate a device made by Eurecat that is specifically designed to monitor and give information about the physiological state of the person who wears it. It combines two sensors that measure heart rate and breathing rate in dynamic conditions during the physical exercises.
The strap consists of a functional area where the sensors and connectors are attached, and the adjustable belt. The data collected is sent wirelessly to a smartphone, tablet or computer, giving the individual a precise, real-time reading. The device is powered by a rechargeable battery, with an external wall adapter, connected by a USB micro cable.
The final result of the smart suit project is the product of a collaboration project between the IED Barcelona Design University and Eurecat (Centre Tecnològic de Cataluny
Elisa R Ferrè, PhD
Director of VeME Lab (Vestibular Multisensory Embodiment) and professor at the Department of Psychology at Royal Holloway University of London. Previously Postdoctoral Researcher at the Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience at the University College London.