Since 1970, fewer than 300 civilian-built space launches have taken place. Many people do not know that you don’t need to be Elon Musk to send something into space. This project would be the first civilian orbital launch of artists paints into space. Paint has been taken to space stations, but never exposed directly to the near-vacuum of over a hundred thousand feet. The art project “Into the Frontier” addresses themes of escape, unknowing, identity, and empowerment, aiming to empower individuals who are not in STEM to find inspiration in reaching for the cosmos. “Into the Frontier” will connect people with a sense of agency, reminding the viewer that you do not need to be part of a large government or corporation to access the stars.
As part of the project, we hope to offer data on how the sub-zero vacuum of space affects the properties of different pigments, because it is unknown what will be usable in a predictable way after this journey. After retrieval, Rex will prepare and record a swatch test of both wet and dry paints to be posted online as a reference for the artistic community. The final portion of this project is a collection of “spacescapes” created from the paint that visited space, painted renderings of the photos taken in flight. The goal is to create an online exhibition of paintings of space from paint that has gone to space. This is uncharted territory!
Funded by Chicago, IL (February 2021)