FutureSpace

investigates how practices of European integration shape Europe’s future in outer space and vice versa.

FutureSpace Talk #3 | Lauren Reid | “The Making of Outer Space: National Futures, Technologies and Celestial Bodies in Motion

Within the social sciences, the “flows”, “movements” and “travels” of people, images, ideas and commodities have long offered productive analytics for understanding the dynamics that shape our contemporary worlds. This talk considers three interrelated conceptual categories that are integral to how knowledge about the cosmos is produced: the movements of technologies, national imaginaries and celestial bodies. Drawing on ethnographic fieldwork at the National Astronomical Research Institute in Thailand, Lauren will first address the future-oriented national visions that are transformed into development strategies that bring the astronomy research institute into being. She will then consider the travels of technology and expertise that animate the institute, before attending to the local scientists’ subjects of study. Reflecting on the orbits and pulsations of stars and exoplanets, she considers how they are active agents in the production of the cosmos as we know it. By interlinking instruments and imaginaries together with the (extraterrestrial) environment, she underscores a multidimensional approach to thinking through the making of outer space by modern technoscience.

Lauren Reid (1983, Australia) is a curator, researcher and educator. Through academic writing and exhibition-making, she explores themes centered on cosmopractices, animism, the Anthropocene and speculative techno-scientific futures. As a PhD Candidate in Social and Cultural Anthropology at the Freie Universität, Berlin, her dissertation titled ‘Thinking Beyond the Final Frontier: Cosmic Futures in Thailand’, examines how human space exploration is practised and imagined in Thailand, with a focus on the interrelationships between astronomical, ufological and Buddhist communities. Lauren is also Co-Director of the curatorial collective ‘insitu’, a Lecturer in Curatorial Practice at Node Centre for Curatorial Studies and has curated over thirty exhibitions as an independent.

 

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