Martina Taranto
• Samantha Cristoforetti, Italian astronaut with the European Space Agency, in 2015. Photo: ESA / NASA


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

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

In collaboration with:
Kenny Arnold - Tin-ya Huang - Felix Isidorsson

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 his/her 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 have 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 the 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 improved human being.

Stellar Being from Felix Isidorsson on Vimeo.


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

Because he/she is of inspiration for others he/she is a social being, devoted to his/her community, an individual with pluralistic views and will of intents.

2) The stellar being is not an altered human being, he/she is an evolved one.

Consistently with a scientific evolutionistic approach the stellar being recognised the importance of adaptation in a diverse and new environment. He/she will willingly give up any attempt to reproduce or imitate any terrestrial lifestyle or behaviour as he/she knows that by doing so he/she would contradict his/her own existence.

The stellar being, in fact, is defined as such because he/she is not affected by any restriction of space or time. He/she conceives everything from a holistic point of view. In fact, the stellar being brings within him/herself 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 his/her work and of the

responsibilities linked to his/her journey. For the sake of a relevant outcome he/she will

experience and consciously embrace environmental, cultural, and emotional changes along with the psychological and physical challenges he/she will have to face.

5) Even though he/she has to adapt to a new perspective of life, the stellar-being will never give up on his/her human nature!

Consciousness of terrestrial origins. The stellar being is fully aware that his/her body-structure is not designed for space travel and he/she embrace this fact and all the consequences consciously. He/she recognises the importance of his/her 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 his/her sexual freedom, as long as it won’t jeopardise the successful outcome of his/her mission.

Psychological and physiological needs. The stellar being, like his/her predecessor (human being), has a need for a point of reference. Without other beings, the stellar being lose his/her original context. To define his/her 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, he/she risks to detach from his/her 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. He/she is aware of his/her fellow astronauts’ psychological and physical condition and he/she is 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) he/she is 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 he/she is 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, - he/she knows 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 he/she is amazed and overwhelmed by it!

Ambition. An inspired human being wittingly accepts a new moral and behavioural code because he/she has dreams. To accomplish and realise those dreams he/she embraces 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 probably the only 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 gene. 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


Stories shape our everyday life. The way stories are told can influence the life of entire communities. Politics, History, Mathematics are made out of stories. Money, religions, nations, war and peace are the results of well shaped, accepted stories. Omero is an analogue 360 projector able to physically show the elements, moments and characters relevant in the making of a story. As an abacus teaches you how to count, Omero is a tool to help you learn the power of narration.

Omero, the great storyteller of the Odyssey was blind; the ancients believed that blindness had a sacred connotation, and helped the storyteller to better focus and give substance to the story.

This object, as its human version, allows people to focus on the stories. The atmosphere created in the room by the projections on the walls points the focus on the narration and not on the narrator. A 360° view of the story helps to feel surrounded and immerse in it. The narrator is not the one to look at, but the one to listen. While the narration goes, social barriers, personal defences or cultural prejudices gradually crumble, the story is the embodiment of the narrator’s socio-cultural identity, that experience becomes a vessel that allows the listeners to create a human connection with the person that is speaking.

This project wants to demonstrate how powerful the experience of a story can be in the economy of human relationships.

All components are grouped in a single monolithic object. The design is essential, transparent, it’s appearance is fragile like the magic equilibrium of the imaginative atmosphere generated through the projections.

The design revolves around the psychological principle of the ‘imaginative transposition’:

One’s ability to project the emotional and psychological self in the events of a story and the experiences of its characters. This practice is used in psychoanalysis as an exercise to indirectly metabolise a trauma: the patient resolves his issues through facing the heroes’ challenges.

Similarly, the proposed objects, use a visual language to speed up the process of emotional and psychological growth.


This project aims to generate a physical environment that favours and encourages a positive psychological mindset open to socio-cultural exchange, sympathetic experiences and human bonding.

Two iterations of the object exist.

OMERO_Dialogues is an analogue 360° projector and tool for storytelling, it uses stories and a magical atmosphere to facilitate trust and break personal defences. Stories shape our lives. This project underlines the role of narration in the economy of human relationships.

OMERO_ Dialogues focuses on human interaction. It makes leverage on spacial fascinations to stimulate a dynamic human exchange of messages and information, intellectual and emotional.

The design revolves around the psychological principle of the ‘imaginative transposition’: one’s ability to project the emotional and psychological self in the events of a story and the experiences of its characters. This practice is used in psychoanalysis as an exercise to indirectly metabolise a trauma: the patient resolves his issues through facing the heroes’ challenges. Similarly, the proposed object, uses a visual language to speed up the process of emotional and psychological growth.

The use of images as communication tools make OMERO_Dialogues particularly effective on young children from 6 to 12 years old, at this age they make sense of reality through symbolisation. OMERO_ Dialogues uses physical and intellectual interaction to foster intimacy. It can be used in a private context to promote parent-child closeness or as a tool in workshops for psychological training. With basic and simple stories it can trigger hidden psychological and behavioural inclinations otherwise invisible.It provides a softer tactile experience thanks to the material choice (Ash). The child and the adult can freely move the components of the object - in this case independent elements - to actively manipulate the storytelling and the entire experience. Changing the slides they can creatively divert the course of the story, they can invent, make sense or imagine new logics.

Relativistic Objects is a finalist project in the 14th edition of the Arte Laguna Prize 2020 , are included in the Google Art and Culture selection, and are currently exhibited in ‘The Lost Place’, a VR experience designed by ArtefattoStudio and promoted by Movimento Club.  The exhibition has been longlisted for the Dezeen Award 2020 in the ‘Exhibition’ category.


        Artificial light allowed us to stretch our perception of time from a sum of finite instants into an unrealistic continuum. We became immortal, projected towards great life achievements, blind to the fugacity of our existence. We abandoned our circadian rhythm for a digital pace of life.

        This project challenges contemporary behaviours and life habits related to the way we conceive and perceive the passing of time. These objects speak to anyone interested in redefining the way we approach and experience our lives.

      A cutting age research by Doctors Marc Howard and Karthik Shankar demonstrates how our neurons understand time in relation to physical experiences.

      This project translates into a practical exercise an activity our brain is gradually repressing because excessively relying of digital devices.
      Missing a
      sensorial experience of time has affected our ability to fix memories and our self-consciousness.

        Relativistic Objects are time visualisers. They don’t exist to measure time but for us to re-learn how to be aware of its passing by experiencing it through a visual representation of physical phenomena like gravity, the movement of celestial bodies, friction, phase transitions.

        Inspired by ancient devices of the XIV century like sundials and navigation tools which performance and precision used to rely totally on natural events and cycles, each piece is symbolically linked with one of the four natural elements.

        Water Once melt, the beeswax candle in the brass tube, will fall in the glass container filled with water positioned right underneath. The liquid wax falling from that height will rapidly change phase when in contact with water, freezing time in a unique amorphous shape. 

        Air A horizontally suspended candle, with two opposite wicks on both extremities lighted at the same time will start oscillating in a rhythmic motion due to the incremental wax loss from its main body.

        Earth The magnesium mineral on the candle wick, being a natural fire starter, prevents anyone from extinguishing the flame and imposes the time of the candle to the user.

        Fire The candle placed in the middle of the plate is characterised by three wicks, each one corresponding to one of the three magnifying glasses of the structure. This object interacts with the environment through the sun. The focal point of each lens is placed in the direction of each of the candle’s wicks - when the sunbeams intercept the focal points of the lenses they intensify the power of the light, increasing the temperature in that point and lighting up the wicks

      • Fire.

      • Air.

      • Earth.

      • Water.



      Material Research

      • My research started with a material exploration on wax and candles, questioning past and present meanings and functionalities of candles. I’ve identified peculiar cultural application of wax and archaic methods to visualise time passing. Explored the cultural meaning of time, and its understanding throughout history and geography. Investigated the concept of time in classical philosophy and general relativity, this last one defines time, not as a standard interval, but as a dynamic, malleable entity always relative to the physical matter it interacts with.



      There is a small city in Sicily that rises on a calcareous land.

      Clean, drinkable water flows from a mountain very rich in minerals into the city’s hydraulic system. In the pipes, rocks magically grow like stalactites and stalagmites.
      The minerals particles diluted in water accumulate onto the pipes’ surface creating incredible structures.

      Limescale crystals take years to grow in their rocky shapes, they generate unique water sculptures hidden underground in a maze of pipes.

      The Limescale Project addresses the problem of limescale accumulation and turns it from a problem to solve into a chance to take!

      It aims to shape a future where products would not be associated with mass production and industrialisation as we know it: fast and alienating.
      I developed a scenario in which pipe-moulds could be installed in the pipeline so to allow self-built structures to grow underground. In fact, given to the pipe a specific configuration the limescale acquires the tube’s shape. By embracing this natural phenomenon, products can be grown and harvested like crops but with a specifically designed shape.

      • Limescale sculptures extracted from the original Sicilian pipes. The limescale takes the shape of the pipe.

      • 3D model sample of a water pipe with the shape of a table.

      I extracted limescale sediments from the Sicilian pipes and celebrated this local naturally grown material and its aesthetics through a collection of products. 

      These Limescale products are visions and explorations for possible future designs totally cultivated in the hydraulic system.

      The project is about new production methods, rethinking industrialisation, shortening the distance between production process and final users. It’s a chance to reconnect with Nature, accept its timing, embrace its processes and interact with those by creating a synergetic and productive coexistence.

      Imagine if we could cultivate tables and chairs in the pipes and then extract them like diamonds!