SPACE IS THE PLACE, 2004 / 2005
Handbook and site research for a critical art practice in public outer space
96 pages, published at Verlag Silke Schreiber Munich, 2005

An anonymous commission for an art project in outer space frames my site research about the possibilities for art in space. The commissioners are trying to catch my artistic interest with the notion of bigness: "Outer space is, one could say, the most public of all spaces. It offers you the possibility to communicate your ideas in a broader way to a bigger audience. The potential spectators are the whole worlds population." But as I am not megalomaniac I refuse to produce an art piece instead analyze the site and think about the possibilities for a critical art practice in outer space: "First, I will briefly review arts practice in public spaces on earth, and compare them to the possibilities in outer space. Next, I will analyze the political and commercial interests in outer space. I can imagine, that they are similar to the situation on earth and thus I will try to develop a critical artistic strategy for outer space by following along the lines of the critical approach on earth."
The thesis, that outer space is a public space, which can be compared to public spaces on earth, is followed by questions about ownership and technical problems for art projects in space. If outer space has lost its traditional role of an utopian, non-functional space, a critical art practice, similar to the artistic practice with public places on earth, has to be discussed as well for outer space.

>"Space is a place." Complete Layout.
(German version only. PDF 1,7 MB)

>English translation. Master's Thesis at Bauhaus University
(Older version from 2004. PDF 4,8 MB)
Beate Engl

The Myth of outer space as a non-functional space

The public space on earth
Public art – Changes in artistic practice in public space on earth
Public space – From the non-functional ideal to a private and administrated space

Outer space as public space
Political interests and militarization
Economic interests and commercialization

Art in public outer space
The arts and outer space
Real beginnings of an art practice in outer space
Institutionalization, positioning and résumé

Space as a place
Beate Engl