Tryna be really happy w/o being really stupid.
UPDATE: This sleek picture of Naomi Campbell for Playboy magazine in 1999. Shot by David La Chapelle.
This movie Gravity has astronauts orbiting around me, like a dazed cartoon character. I sat in the theater jumping out of the way of 3D space debris, my eyes popping out their sockets. I adored it, as an experience and as a tale. Between the sense of safety placed on Earth, the very surreal threat of being barred from it’s glowing, warm atmosphere, themes of survival, evolution, rebirth, mankind, internationalism (Sandra Bullock dressing in other nation’s spacesuits — physically shedding political boundaries). It reaffirmed my belief in humanity — exactly what I wanted it to do. We are all connected, all living the same safe distance from the Sun. Even Beyonce.
I had gathered that space is a place that endears and tenders you towards Earth and mankind through a book I own, The Home Planet. Discussing “the essential humanity we take with us into space”, and published in 1988. It is full of stunning images taken from space and quotes from astronauts; Russians, Chinese, Americans, all current members of the — rather made up sounding — Association of Space Explorers. Each man returned newly aware of ‘our’ planet’s fragility, with less interest in borders or continental classifications. “They realise that any predicament, disagreement, or obstacle can be overcome” wrote Russian Cosmonaut Oleg Makarov. #Beautiful.
A harsh fact that the book highlights is that photographs from early journeys are far more pristine and clear. Over time air pollution has smogged up the view. If you’re not the type to make an ethical effort aim to get your act together in the new year — be kind, recycle, upcycle, support local or sustainable where possible, avoid unnecessary packaging, chemicals, car journey,s etc. Our planet is for life, not just for Christmas.
It’s strange but by now space travel definitely has earned a nostalgia factor. I’ll always remember unwrapping a ‘We Girls Can Do Anything’ black astronaut Barbie one year (a quick Google says it was 1994). She came clutching a pink Barbie flag to mark her claim on the solar system and glow-in-the-dark moon rock souvenirs. Not her first trip into outer space though, as this 1987 video shows.
Looking back, I was trying to figure out if there was a space travel revival in 1994 (Buzz Lightyear made his Toy Story debut in ’95. Also starring Barbie. Weird). Turns out it’s because ’94 was the 25th anniversary of the Apollo moon walk and I guess NASA wanted to make a big, All-American deal out of it. Lego also brought out a few intergalactic toys but they had their own Lego Space range between 1978-’99, after which they shook hands with Star Wars for a franchised range.
Over the holidays I realised (in despair) that I had chosen a pink Lomography camera for my pre-teen sister. Without even thinking about it. My plan was to aim for gender unbiased presents. How hard should that be? I’ll keep trying. An important and cool thing about the space trend is that they can encourage a sense of discovery and a passion for engineering, physics and astrology. Subjects frequently ignored when choosing gifts for young girls. I know plenty of females who studied sciences. Often they had an influence, such as a family member or godparent, who fostered this interest. You could be that person. Below is Valentina Tereshkova in 1963, a Soviet cosmonaut and the first woman in space.
But maybe you, personally, are obsessed with the Solar System and everything out there. Very on-trend. For a mature take, this t-shirt, a Saatchi Gallery x Yukio Miyamoto collaboration, features the iconic and uber-cool Hasselblad camera that was used during the Apollo missions. And I love this vintage Apollo landing fabric pillowcase by Hunted and Stuffed. APOLLO. APOLLO. APOLLO. Yikes. Also, I recently found an International Star Registry certificate at Dublin’s New Market Flea. Who would get rid of such a thing? Look how great the calligraphy is on it.
Young or old, I advise you to go see Moon Man. Based on the Tomi Ungerer illustrated children’s book; Kilkenny’s Cartoon Saloon helped bring it to life and the Irish-accent voice overs are a delight.
Also I’m very excited for Portuguese photographer, Edgar Martins’ new series, The Rehearsal of Space & the Poetic Impossibility to Manage the Infinite. There will be an accompanying publication in 2014, but also a tour.
So plenty to do and see in 2014. And my list of New Years resolution list reads something like this; be an outstanding eco-warrior and educate all ages on reducing waste and pollution while also upholding my own end; think of the world less in terms of land divisions, more in terms of people and unity; and let go of gender stereotypes, particularly towards children. If we all contribute our own small steps or giant leaps they will lead to an, ultimately, brighter future. One that can be clearly seen from space.
Happy New Year.