20th March 2021

On 20th March 2021, Multiverse Concert Series, CLOT Magazine, and SciArt Initiative present a new collaborative project, OTHER SKIES: An Exoplanetary Festival, a one-day online event exploring humanity’s relationship with the planets beyond our own solar system.

In 1984 astronomers observed the first planetary disk of dust and gas around the star Beta Pictoris, providing a tantalizing glimpse of the potential for exoplanet discovery. And now? Over 4,000 exoplanets have been discovered; we are fortunate to find ourselves in a fertile universe of celestial bodies, and the implications of these findings are being explored with fervor by scientists and artists alike.

Recent scientific advancements—combined with our insatiable curiosity to probe the unknown—have rekindled our SciFi imaginations in the quest for the extraterrestrial. But what are the philosophical implications of these revelations? As these discoveries permeate popular culture, artists, thinkers, and scientists reflect and interpret their relevance. Can we envision new horizons for humanity away from imperialist and colonial perspectives? What unimagined life forms will be encountered? Can we imagine what it would be like to live beneath other skies?

As the universe unfolds before our eyes, we can all be a part of the journey to uncover a multitude of evocative worlds—searching for responses to our own earthly existence, and ultimately, our place in the universe.

At the heart of this event is the exhibition space: an immersive online environment specially created for the festival by New Art City, curated by CLOT Magazine and SciArt Initiative. The exhibition on view, Exoplanetary Dust, will feature the work of 13 international artists/collaborations, and will be hosted inside the freely navigable 3D gallery. Live events will take place inside the same digital space and will include live-streamed talks, a panel discussion, and a performance from Multiverse Concert Series.

The festival will launch at 11:00am (EST time) with opening remarks by the organizers, accompanied by an introduction to exoplanet science by Dr. Michael Albrow (Fermilab). Launching at the same time, the online exhibition Exoplanetary Dust will be a 24/7 open virtual space that the audience can explore freely on their computers, tablets, or mobile devices. In this environment, works by an array of international artists spanning diverse disciplines and media will portray playful interpretations of exoplanetary existence.

Artworks will explore astrobiology and the meaning of life outside the Earth (with BioArt pioneers Suzanne Anker and Raphael & Jae Yeop Kim), how artists imagine these remote terrains with speculative visualizations and 3D renderings (Ed Bell, Sun Araw & Theo Triantafyllidis and Recsund & Alien Jams), how we can interpret and communicate with space through art (Richelle Gribble and Marlena Bocian-Hewitt), what interstellar travel will involve for human beings (Ani Liu and Albert Barque-Duran & Marc Marzenit), the contemporary consequences of our planetary relationship with space (Lisa,Messeri), and how we are relating to exoplanets with sound (Nicole L’Huiller & Daniela Catrileo and 30drop & Stephen Mclaughlin (for Axis Records)). Sónar, the international advanced music and technology festival, will also show a video of their project Sónar Calling GJ273b, for which renowned sound artists’ and musicians’ compositions were sent into space, specifically to the exoplanet Luyten b, with the objective of making first human contact with an extraterrestrial intelligence.

The day will continue with an online family workshop of music and movement at 12pm EST by Integral Steps: Exoplanetary Adventure! Children and parents can experience exoplanetary science through musical games, movement, and crafts, with guest scientist Dr. Tajana Schneiderman (MIT). Dr. Tajana Schneidermanand Dr. Lisa Messeri will then give lectures about their work in exoplanetary research and anthropology, respectively. Moving into the afternoon, the audience will have time to explore the virtual gallery and interact by instant message with the other visitors.

At 2pm EST the Multiverse Concert marks the equinox of the event. This performance will interweave music with science and immersive animations, featuring Matt Russo of SYSTEM-Sounds, Octave of Light by David Ibbett, and an update on the search for life on Venus by Dr. Clara Sousa-Silva. After the performances, Ed Bell, renowned artist and designer known for his work as the Art Director of Scientific American, will give insight on his experience working at the intersection of art and science and what it means to visualize the unseeable.

Concluding the festival, a closing panel discussion composed of event participants at 4:30pm EST will explore various themes presented throughout the day through the lenses of the arts, sciences, and where they converge.

This conversation will continue, and be opened to the audience, with a reception in our Mozilla Hubs networking spaces.