Martina Taranto
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STELLAR BEING

What are the challenges of the astronauts today? How to design and what in view of a successful 5 years mission to Mars?
Looking at human disconnection in a space environment, we designed a tactile object for beings that are far apart.




3 weeks workshop
In collaboration with:
Kenny Arnold -Tin-ya Huang - Felix Isidorsson
                  • Samantha Cristoforetti, Italian astronaut with the European Space Agency, in 2015. Photo: ESA / NASA



The ‘Stellar Being’ research project sets out to explore what happens to us as beings when we adapt to a life in solitude.


When excluded and disconnected from the rest of the terrestrial life, there is not only a need to adapt physically to a new context, what happens to our sexual inclination and romantic aspirations?
The project was guided through conversations with The National Centre for Space Studies (CNES).

Sexuality is one of the main pillars that make up our personality, yet all sexual interactions are prohibited in space travel.
Experiments by NASA, exploring how long periods of solitude affects us as humans have shown how the lack of intimacy results in mental issues.
The project sets out to explore how conditioning could be used as a tool to prevent the future challenges that are arising.

Tackling one of the most extreme and challenging environments: Space.
Informed by the European Space Agency, NASA and National Centre for Space Studies (CNES).

Our project is a response to the negligence of human physical needs, sexuality included and the mental effects consequential to the lack of it.







The current paradigm is an incomplete picture. We are viewed as tools and object to do tasks.
Astronauts are seen as a means to an end.

We chose to look at what it means to be human in space.










The context of this project is the astronaut’s relationship to their psyco-social network and how the long distance impacts psychological health.
Sexuality is part of what makes beings what they are. Therefore we need to look at the whole being, including the sexual and the psychological aspects.
Sexuality is what keeps our species going. It’s fundamental to who we are. There is a great need to create means to acknowledge intimacy and sexuality as part of a ‘stellar beings’ mental and physical health.

In the near future space travels will be longer and even more psychologically challenging.

Sexuality and human connection has been seen as something that has a possibility to jeopardize a mission. To consider an astronaut without sexuality is not seeing humans from a complete picture.




• Prototypes and 3D model simulation of the object on a human arm.


• User testing on different people in different conditions, using different tactile textures.



• Different textures used to test different tactile esperiences.


The functional process of our tool does not solely belong in space.


Mental preparation for a stellar trip starts on earth with the use of tactile massage together with a partner.
With the use of tactile massage, it’s possible to condition the positive hormonal impact of being physical with someone getting the same positive output while apart.
This create a counter-measure that will enable a being - terrestrial or stellar - to endure long periods in the mental state of loneliness.








What is a stellar being?

A stellar being is an expanded human being.


 


• ‘Stellar Being’ from Felix Isidorsson on Vimeo.






THE STELLAR BEING MANIFESTO



1) A stellar being is an inspired and inspiring human being.

Because they are of inspiration for others they are social beings, devoted to their community, individuals with pluralistic views and will of intents.

2) The stellar being is not an altered human being, they are evolved ones.

Consistently with a scientific evolutionistic approach, the stellar being recognised the importance of adaptation in a diverse and new environment. They will willingly give up any attempt to reproduce or imitate any terrestrial lifestyle or behaviour as they know that by doing so they would contradict their own existence.

The stellar being, in fact, is defined as such because they are not affected by any restriction of space or time. they conceive everything from a holistic point of view. In fact, the stellar being brings within themselves a complex cultural/ethical genome which is a coherent coexistence of positive, not destructive Cultural/Ethical/Behavioural principles. This is the major stellar mutation.

3) A stellar being is an open-minded being.

4) A stellar being is aware of the social and technological impact of their work and of the responsibilities linked to their journey. For the sake of a relevant outcome they will experience and consciously embrace environmental, cultural, and emotional changes along with the psychological and physical challenges they will have to face.

5) Even though they have to adapt to a new perspective of life, the stellar-being will never give up on their human nature.

Consciousness of terrestrial origins. The stellar being is fully aware that their body-structure is not designed for space travel and they embrace this fact and all the consequences consciously. They recognise the importance of their terrestrial historical/intellectual/emotional background and acknowledge that this is the only true starting point for a successful evolutionistic journey in space.

Gender based differences. A stellar being has gender, sexual inclination and romantic aspirations. It’s a stellar being right to recognise and embrace their sexual freedom, as long as it won’t jeopardise the successful outcome of their mission.

Psychological and physiological needs. The stellar being, like their predecessor (the human being), has a need for a point of reference. Without other beings, the stellar being loses their original context. To define their mental and physiological place the stellar being needs to be considered as an active, participative individual in an articulated and stimulating community. When the stellar being physiological reference is absent, they risk to detach from their psychological reference as well. The two conditions correlate together to build up the wellness of the stellar being, both are needed to keep the stellar being mental and physical balance.

Empathy. The stellar being has a strong sense of the other. They are aware of their fellow astronauts’ psychological and physical condition and they are emotionally connected with them. This augmented sense of the human condition is an essential skill to the stellar being, not only because the well-being of all the stellar beings involved in the mission is optimal and necessary condition for the successful accomplishment of the mission, but also because a strong and emphasised perceptive attitude of the surrounding members of the community allows the stellar being to have a boosted consciousness of all the collective realities (stellar and terrestrial) they are part of.

Sensitivity. A sensible conduct is strongly related to an empathetic attitude. To show compassion, understanding, generosity, awareness it is necessary to know what it feels like to be in someone else’s shoes. To be a truly evolved human being, the stellar being can’t exclude a sensible relationship with the environment they are living in. Many ideas have suggested scenarios in which humans try to colonise space by forcing on it a terrestrial connotation. The stellar being knows that there are no mountains or oceans in space, no singing birds or dogs barking, no jazz singers, - they know there are stars burning, planets bending the space-time, invisible particles moving with inconceivable speed, hidden mysteries in every inch of the infinite: the stellar being knows all this is still nature and they are amazed and overwhelmed by it.

Ambition. An inspired human being wittingly accepts a new moral and behavioural code because they have dreams. To accomplish and realise those dreams they embrace change. So, the human being evolves into a stellar being: an enlightened mind and a sensible heart fed with challenges and big purposes.

Imperfection. Imperfection is a constant factor in human nature. Even if there’s been improvement in the course of time, for as much as we try, we will never be able to mutate this feature. The stellar being is powered by imperfection because it contemplates chaos, entropia and creativity. These are necessary ingredients to create tension between the human being and its boldest achievements. The stellar being embrace chaos, entropia and creativity as they are chances to subjectively describe the lows of the universe. Imperfection is the truest and most precious human feature because it always generates creative potential.


The stellar being vows to forever remain imperfect.




                                                               • Jan Davis and Mark Lee were married before they went to space aboard Endeavour during STS-47. Photo: NASA.






_ The background picture is a photo taken by NASA dowloaded from Unsplash.