I’d like to draw your attention for a moment to this special cooperation with photographer Edgar Martins, whose marvelous collection entitled The Rehearsal of Space and the Poetic Impossibility to Manage the Infinite is currently on exhibition at Wolverhampton Art Gallery, United Kingdom. Entrance is free and the Gallery is open Monday to Friday from 10:00 – 17:00. The official opening will take place on 13 March 2015 at 18:00 CET and includes a special talk with Edgar Martins and our ESA astronaut Jean-François Clervoy. This event is open to the public and entrance is free, too.

ESA Columbus ISS module Training Simulator, photographed by E. Martins.

ESA Columbus ISS module Training Simulator at the European Astronaut Centre, Cologne, Germany. Photo credit: Edgar Martins

But, even more important, let me quickly and openly reflect on our motivation behind collaborations like these. Artists see our work, our facilities, test centres, launch sites et al. with different eyes, they reveal the beautiful unknown aspects that lie dormant beyond the surface, and can share them with their public, much better than ourselves. When I met Edgar  for the first time, I knew immediately that he would be one of the persons who could do that – and he did.

In 2012 and 2013, we provided Edgar with access to all ESA establishments and those of our partners – from the UK, the Netherlands, France, Germany, Spain to Russia, Kazakhstan and Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana – and he captured unique artistic views of our test centres, robotics departments, space simulators, laboratories, launch sites, the astronaut training centre and much more. We also gave him  privileged access to our astronauts to the point that he even managed to photograph personal items that they brought to space and back.

Tower of ESA's Vega launcher, photographed by Edgar Martins.

The Tower of Vega: Looking up from the bottom of the mobile launch gantry for ESA’s Vega launcher in at Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana. Photo credit: Edgar Martins.

By this unique and inspirational collaboration, we make a clear link between space and the arts – and Edgar does not only help us to promote ESA and its fascinating space research and technology to people who have not been in touch with it before, but he also actively caters for all of us seeing a particular part of our world from a different perspective.

Should you have the chance to visit one of our establishments at some time in the future, e.g. during one of our Open Days at ESRIN or ESTEC, you will certainly realise.

Space suits and gloves, photographed by Edgar Martins

Space suits and gloves in the Astronaut Dressing Room, Star City, Russia. Photo credit: Edgar Martins

Further information on Edgar Martins, his personal views and the traveling exhibition can be found in various articles …

… and, of course, at the artist’s website.

About the author:
Fernando Doblas is the Head of ESA’s Communication Department. Follow him on Twitter at @FernandoDoblas