Alive in Space

Tuesday 22 October 2019, 14:45 – 15:45

Location: The Walter E. Washington Convention Center – Grand Ballroom C


What does it mean to ‘be alive’ opposed to ‘living’ in space? The value and meaning of human life is a paradox. One which is providing further fascination in the context of space exploration as the playground for human culture extends into the stars. The syntax of this question serves as a starting point from which to discuss Space, Cultures & Society.

The panel discussion session presented by The Committee for the Cultural Utilisation of Space (ITACCUS) will provide an exciting and dynamic introduction to variety of innovative creative methodologies and platforms used in collaboration with space science in order to reveal and investigate the cultural, political, economical, historical and sociological contexts of humans in space. From critical design to the arts, this panel discussion will discuss recommendations endorsed by the IAA and IAF which outline how spaceflight organisations can include the development of human culture within their mission objectives. What are the parameters and paradigms which currently restrict this development of humanity purpose beyond that science and survival. It will challenge you to understand your role in this development and ask you “how you will contribute to the meaning of ‘life’ in space?”

Organized by:
IAF Committee for the Cultural Utilisation of Space (ITACCUS)


Aoife Van Linden Tol

Director & Artist,

IAF Committee for the Cultural Utilisation of Space (ITACCUS),

United Kingdom

Full Bio

Beginning in 2000 Aoife van Linden Tol’s work with explosives fused her interests in nature, cosmology, chemistry and physics. A multi-disciplinary artist her practice spans sculpture, installation, drawing, photography, film and performance. She creates abstract works which often examine concepts of time, density and matter as well as deep human emotions and motivations.

Graduating from Central St Martins College of Art and Design with a BA Hons in Art & Design as well as the International School for Safety and Explosive Engineers in 2002, Aoife van Linden Tol has exhibited internationally including at the ICA, London, the San Francisco MOMA, USA and the NGBK Berlin. In 2017 Aoife was artist in residence at the European Space Agency & Ars Electronica Futurelab. She is the vice Chair for the IAF Committee for the Cultural Utilisation of Space and had written several papers about space culture.



Nelly Ben Hayoun


SETI Institute,

United Kingdom

Full Bio

Dr Nelly Ben Hayoun is a designer of extreme experiences that aims to bring the sublime to life. Dubbed the “Willy Wonka of Design,” Dr Nelly Ben Hayoun is an award-winning French designer and filmmaker who creates multi-dimensional experiential projects at the intersection of science, theatre, politics and Design. Wired awarded her their inaugural Innovation Fellowship in 2014, and Icon magazine recognized Dr Ben Hayoun as one of the top 50 designers ‘shaping the future’ for her pioneering “total bombardment” design philosophy.

She is the founder and director of the International Space Orchestra the world’s first orchestra of NASA space scientists and astronauts; and most recently she founded the University of the Underground, a tuition-free school that is focusing on empowering countercultures in institutions and advocating pluralistic thinking and transnational education. She is the author and director of three feature-length documentaries on space exploration and investigating the production of knowledge. Her various roles include Chief of Experiences at WeTransfer, Designer of Experiences at the SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) Institute, advisor to the United Nations Virtual Reality Labs, an associate fellow at the Hannah Arendt Center for politics and humanities at Bard College and director of Nelly Ben Hayoun studios in London, UK.


Michael Garrett


Jodrell Bank Centre for Astrophysics,

United Kingdom

Full Bio

Prof. Michael (Mike) Garrett is the inaugural Sir Bernard Lovell Chair of Astrophysics at the University of Manchester, and Director of Jodrell Bank Centre for Astrophysics (JBCA). He is a former director of JIVE (Joint Institute for VLBI in Europe) and Director General of ASTRON (Netherlands Institute for Radio Astronomy). Garrett’s research interests are broad, with his own work focused on high resolution radio observations of the distant Universe. He has published more than 150 refereed papers on this and related topics. He is deeply interested in the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI), and is the vice-chair of the IAA SETI Permanent Committee (SETI PC). He serves on numerous related scientific advisory boards, including those of the SETI Institute and Breakthrough Listen.


Sitraka Rakotoniaina


Very Very Far Away (VVFA),

United Kingdom

Full Bio

Born in Madagascar and grew up in Paris, then moved to London in 2008 to study at the Royal College of Art, in the Design Interactions program. His interests lie in speculative design and storytelling. He crafts (future) narratives through designed artefacts, and use these as a form of storytelling to probe, question or excite. He use science as fuel to imagine new relationships between people and technology, whether it allows us to achieve something fantastic or perceive reality differently.