PARS is an international, interdisciplinary group of researchers from the human, social, and exact sciences as well as artists, visual technicians and planetarium professionals to investigate the history, present state and future of popular astronomical spectacle. Combining academic research with artistic and professional mediation, PARS is dedicated to the investigation of a locus where spatial and visual cultures of modernity were (and continue to be) elaborated and experienced at the intersection of science, technology and spectacle. We look into the performance, the material and technological characteristics of astronomical shows, their social and cultural contexts but also their perception and experience by different audiences. We explore the ways in which the shared experience of astronomical spectacles contributed to foster new senses of the collective and of the world in the quintessential cities of modernity and beyond.
Early Popular Visual Culture
PARS recently published a special issue on Spectacular Astronomy with the journal Early Popular Visual Culture. The nine contributions together address the theatre and various planetariums as a conduit to perform science since the 19th century and into the 21th century, especially in relation to changing ideas of theatricality, the modern culture of spectacle and the complex struggle between aesthetic and scientific concerns. The issue also testifies to the intertwined histories of popular observatories, museums and theatres as urban sites for spectacular science.
The Performance Studies Space Programme (PSSP)
The Performance Studies Space Program (PSSP) is an initiative lead by Maaike Bleeker and Felipe Cervera that seeks to expand our field’s knowledge about astronomy, cosmology and extraterrestrial exploration. PSSP will be launched as an exhibition with presentations by different perspectives from scholars and artists about the possibilities of performance studies in space. The Performance Studies Space Programma (PSSP) will be presented at the Performance Studies international (PSi) conference in Hamburg.
Nele Wynants and Kurt Vanhoutte also participated in the conference to introduce the special issue on Spectacular Astronomy recently published with Early Popular Visual. Culture.
Date: 9 June, 2017