Call for Testimonials from Space Artists: Creativity in Extreme Environments ?

We are working on a project about creativity in extreme environments, specifically focusing on the work of space artists: both artists who have been in zero gravity and created artworks or performances in space, and artists who have worked with astronauts who have flown or performed the artworks in zero gravity for the artist

The work will be published as a open access White Paper and summarised

as a Book Chapter, and published on the Leonardo/OLATS web site.

This is an open call to space artists to send us a testimonial:

Roger Malina, Kathryn Hays, Cris Kubli

contact us via

We would welcome a written testimonial from you where you talk about your experience creating space art-

  • did any new ideas develop by the people in space who made use of your space art, where zero gravity changed the nature of the ideas
  • did you come up with new ideas as a result of insights from the space art after it was realised in zero gravity

your testimonial will be published as a contribution to a white paper we will be publishing and summarised in a book chapter.

We would welcome random or organised thoughts !! of any length, format, with or without illustrations. If you have already written about this, please do send us the reference.

below is the current abstract for the paper

also suggestions of other space artists you know we should contact are welcomed


Creativity and Cognition in Extreme Environments: The Space Arts as a Case Study

Lead Authors: Kathryn Hays, Roger Malina, Cris Kubli


Humans, like all organisms, have evolved to survive in specific environments. When such organisms are forced, or choose, to live and work in other environments they function differently, both mentally and physically. Our paper will develop the history, present practices, and future possible arts in the context of humans beyond the Karman boundary of the earth’s atmosphere. This paper will explore the space arts as a case study in creativity in extreme environments, in this special issue of journal/book. Tasks involved in extreme environments are cognitively demanding and require high physical and psychological adaptation and expertise. Cognition, not only in scientific tasks, is influenced by the context in which it is situated. To facilitate cognitive operations, such as creativity, beyond those needed for survival and safety, environmental or task context needs must be addressed and specific cognitive training developed. Viewing cognition as embodied, enacted, socially embedded, and extended provides a framework for its relationship to the environmental conditions. As cognition relates to the environment, so do cognitive processes and operations, such as perception, problem solving, and creative ideation. We develop a revised taxonomy of space arts, based on the taxonomy by Roger Malina presented at the 1990 International Astronautics Conference. We provide specific exemplars of space art in zero gravity developed by artists in space, or for use by astronauts in space.. Using examples of space art since the birth of the space age, we discuss 1) how human survival in extreme environments requires investment in the space arts to develop sustainable social cultures in zero gravity and 2) how new scientific discoveries could be consequences or examples of creative thinking driven by artists in the various types of space art. We conclude by comparing and contrasting space with other extreme environments as contexts for creativity. 


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