This blog will keep you informed about the progress of the new series.
20 November, 2017
Michael participates at the exhibition “Rivoluzione Galileo. L’arte incontra la scienza”
Galileo Galilei (1564–1642) is one of the most famous and important scientists in history. Playing a key role in the 17th century scientific revolution, Galileo remains a towering figure in the transition from natural philosophy to modern science and the transformation of the scientific Renaissance into a scientific revolution. His worldwide fame rests on his radical new concept of the universe first set forth with the publication of his Sidereus nuncius (Starry Messenger, 1610).
The aim of the exhibition “Rivoluzione Galileo. L’arte incontra la scienza” is to visualize his radical new thinking through images of the skies created before and after Galileo. By charting the change from the skies of the astrologers to the skies of astronomers, it shows how these radical new conceptions have evolved into different artistic notions over the past centuries. Next to Galileo’s legacy, the exhibition showcases the profound influence exercised by his discoveries and modern science on arts and culture since the early 1600s. In its unprecedented celebration of the life and work of Galileo in Padua (including his own splendid aquarelles and sketches), this landmark exhibition also presents a series of stunning masterpieces representing seven centuries of world art. Michael Najjar was invited to participate in this major historic exhibition with three key artworks from his “outer space“ series: “orbital ascent“ (2016), “gravitation entanglement” (2014) and his “spacewalk” video (2013).
Artists featured in the show include:
Galileo Galilei, Leonardo da Vinci, Jacopo Ligozzi, Adam Elsheimer, Peter Paul Rubens, Francesco Furini, Justus Sustermans, Jusepe de Ribera, Francesco Maria del Monte, Donato Creti, Étienne-Louis Boullée, William Blake, Gustave Doré, Emile Antoine Bayard, Alphonse de Neuville, Odilon Redon, Georges Méliès, Bruno Taut, Joan Miró, Max Ernst, Lucio Fontana, Thomas Ruff, Michael Najjar, Wolfgang Tillmans, Trevor Paglen, Anish Kapoor.
Curated by Giovanni Carlo Federico Villa and Stefan Weppelmann
Palazzo del Monte de Pietà Padua, Piazza Duomo 14, Padua, Italy
Fondazione Cassa di Risparmio di Padova e Rovigo
Exibition dates: 18 November, 2017 – 18 March, 2018
02 October, 2017
Michael took pictures of the world´s largest telescope in China
China built this staggeringly large instrument called the “Five hundred-meter Aperture Spherical Telescope” (FAST) in the remote and hardly accessible southern, mountainous region of the country. Inaugurated in 2016, the telescope was constructed in a natural sinkhole surrounded by the unique mountains of the Pingtang valley. The telescope has an incedible diameter of 500 m. The surface is made of 4450 triangular metal panels building the form of a geodesic dome. It can be tilted by a computer to change the focus on different areas in the Universe. Radio telescopes use a large, parabolic dish to collect radio waves from distant sources, such as pulsars, black holes and gravitational waves. However one of the main objectives of the instrument is detecting interstellar communication signals – finding signals from alien civilisations.
Michael was privileged to be given a unique opportunity to portrait this extraordinary astronomical instrument.
20 September, 2017
Michael´s work now on view at the 7th Moscow Biennale 2017
The 7th International Moscow Biennale 2017, curated by Yuko Hasegawa, has opened this week at the world famous State Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow. The concept of the main exhibition Clouds⇄Forests focuses on a new ecosystem formed through the circulation of "Cloud Tribes" born in the cloud, and "Forest Tribes" born in an analogue world. Michael Najjar exhibits several large-scale pieces from his celebrated "outer space" series.
Nadim Abbas, Adel Abidin, Nindityo Adipurnomo, Farah Atassi, Kanako Azuma, Matthew Barney, Natalia Bazowska, Bahar Behbahani, Björk, Hussein Chalayan, Revital Cohen & Tuur Van Balen, Alexandra Daisy Ginsberg, Rohini Devasher, Louise Drulhe, Olafur Eliasson, Justine Emard & Mirai Moriyama, Cécile B. Evans, Ilya Fedotov-Fedorov, Valia Fetisov, "Forensic Architecture", Theaster Gates, Gauri Gill, Marta Gornicka, Alina Gutkina, Joey Holder, Elliott Hundley, Pierre Huyghe, Ali Kazma, Nile Koetting, Siji Krishnan, Alexey Martins, Mathieu Merlet-Briand, Marie-Luce Nadal, Michael Najjar, Koji Nakazono, Dashi Namdakov, Uriel Orlow, Anastasia Potemkina, Laure Prouvost, Aurora Sander, Susan Schuppli, Sayaka Shimada, Wieki Somers, Yuken Teruya, Sissel Tolaas, Michael Tolmachev, Ryan Trecartin, Hanna Tuulikki, Alexander Vinogradov and Vladimir Dubossarsky, "Where Dogs Run", Robert Zhao Renhui, Marina Zurkow.
Special thanks to Yuko Hasegawa and her team
And to Wemhöner Collection
Michael participates at the 7th Moscow Biennale 2017
The 7th International Moscow Biennale 2017 is curated by Yuko Hasegawa, one of the most influential and notable curators in the international art world. The main exhibition entitled “Clouds ⇄ Forests“ is a proposition in a time of crisis that calls for the establishment of new relationships in our world. The concept puts the spotlight on artists as a creative tribe who transition, expand and dissipate from forest to cloud, rebuilding the subjectivity of spectators and demonstrating that creativity is essential to the creation of new environmental spheres.
Michael Najjar has been invited to participate at the Biennale with several large-scale artworks from his celebrated “outer space“ series. The center piece of his presentation will be a 6 meters wide triptych of his work “liquid time“.
The Moscow Biennale takes place at the Tretjakow Gallery in Moscow from 18 September 2017 - 18 January 2018.
Panel discussion on occasion of the exhibition “Planetary Echoes“
The panel discussion “Exploring the implications of human settlement in space“ was held on the 5th of May 2017 at Alfred Ehrhardt Foundation, Berlin.
Today the technology to reach nearby planets is possible. Even though many long-term technical challenges still need to be solved to support the creation of a permanent, selfsustaining human presence on another planet, imagining humans as a multi planetary species is not a mere fantasy anymore. Against this backdrop and on occasion of the exhibition “Planetary Echoes“ at Alfred Ehrhardt Stiftung, Berlin, the interdisciplinary panel discussion addressed the imagination of future habitats on other planets and moons in the arts, fiction and science at the beginning of the 21st century. It thereby attempted to interweave the discourse into the very fabric of society today, and aimed at connecting artistic research and the abstract theoretic sciences on an international level.
Nelly Ben Hayoun
Experience designer. Head of Nelly Ben Hayoun Studio, London
Embraces multidisciplinary approaches, resulting in unique subversive experiences.
Assembled the International Space Orchestra (ISO) - the world first orchestra of space scientists and astronauts at NASA. www.nellyben.com
Xavier de Kestelier
Head of Design Technology and Innovation at Hassell Studio, London
Works with the European Space Agency (ESA). Explores the possibilities of 3D printing to construct lunar and martian habitations. www.hassellstudio.com
Sir Tim Smit
Music producer, entrepreneur, archeologist. Director of Lost Gardens of Heligan,
chief executive and co-founder of the Eden Project, Cornwall. www.edenproject.com
Curator, writer, art director in the international mediation of contemporary cultural reflexivity beyond disciplinary boundaries. www.studiolukasfeireiss.com
24 April, 2017
Video trailer of the exhibition opening "Planetary Echoes“
19 April, 2017
Alfred Ehrhardt Foundation Berlin presents Michael´s new solo exhibition "Planetary Echoes“.
The Alfred Ehrhardt Foundation presents the solo exhibition “Planetary Echoes“ by Michael Najjar. The exhibition focusses on the idea of terraforming and future human settlements in space. Michael’s photo and video compositions suggest formal and thematic similarities between our own home planet and other moons and planets in the solar system. The various levels of similarity between terrestrial and extraterrestrial environments shown in the exhibition correspond perfectly with the focus of the Alfred Ehrhardt Foundation program. The cosmic laws postulated by Ehrhardt and his contemporaries, who were inspired by German Lebensphilosophie (a philosophical tendency rejecting rationalism and emphasizing human experience), identified congruencies between the microcosm and the macrocosm - a theme that echoes in the visionary dimensions of Michael’s new artworks mostly taken during a 3 weeks travel through Iceland in February 2017.
Opening: 21 April 2017, 7 - 9 pm
Alfred Ehrhardt Stiftung
Auguststr. 75 - 10117 Berlin - Germany
Exhibition dates: 22 April - 18 June 2017
Tue–Sun 11 am – 6 pm, Thurs 11 am – 9 pm
Special opening hours during Gallery Weekend:
28 April, 11 am - 21 pm
UK Business Traveller Magazine features “Space Suite“ on the cover
In its March 2017 edition UK based Business Traveller - the world leading magazine for frequent corporate traveller - features Michael Najjar´s “Space Suite“ on the cover. In October 2015 Michael Najjar unveiled the world´s first futuristic “Space Suite“ at the Kameha Grand Zurich, Switzerland. He has created a truly out-of-this-world experience - an entire futuristic space station housed in a new hotel building. The basic idea underpinning the Space Suite is to create an immersive environment which makes hotel guests - or crew members - feel like they’re living on an actual space station. The “Space Suite“ was created by Michale Najjar in 2015 for the Kameha Grand Zurich Hotel, nominated and shortlisted in 2016 for the European Hotel Design Award for the best new Hotel Suite in Europe.
Michael Najjar and his team have just returned from a three week photo- and video shooting in Iceland. The spectacular footage they shot forms the raw material for new artworks on terraforming and climate change. Terraforming is the process whereby a hostile environment, i.e. a planet that is too cold, too hot, or has an unbreathable atmosphere, is altered to make it suitable for human life. This could involve modifying its temperature, atmosphere, surface topography, and ecology. The artificial creation of a sustainable ecosystem on a lifeless planet like Mars is a fascinating vision that might one day guarantee our survival as a species.
The new artworks will be presented for the first time at the upcoming exhibition "Planetary Echoes" at the Alfred Ehrhardt Stiftung Berlin in April this year. In 1938 German photographer and filmmaker Alfred Ehrhardt undertook a two-month photo and film expedition across Iceland. This adventurous journey led him into untouched "primal landscape" shaped by glaciers and volcanoes, where he hoped to gain insights into the origins of the Earth. Accompanied by Dieter Jaufmann, Michael Najjar filmed and photographed many of the same locations that Alfred Ehrhardt visited almost a century ago. Ehrhardt’s goal of discovering the Earth´s origins is paired to the most existential question of the 21st century: saving the Earth’s future.
Production company: Pegasus Pictures, Reykjavik
Pegasus organisation: Bryn Birgisdóttir
Video camera operator: Dieter Jaufmann
Mountain guide: Stefan Mantler
Technical support: Hasselblad, DRS Berlin
12 January, 2017
Michael portrays future Mars robot „Valkyrie“ at Edinburgh Centre for Robotics
In December 2016 Michael visited Edinburgh Centre for Robotics to take pictures of „Valkyrie“, the next generation of human robots. Developed by NASA-JSC Valkyrie is one of the most advanced humanoid robots in the world. The robot was constructed in 2015 and delivered to the University of Edinburgh in Spring 2016 for further testing and research. According to NASA, we should see the first humans landing on Mars by 2033. Along this journey, the space agency is planning to send robots first to prepare the later landing of human astronauts. The idea behind this collaboration with the Edinburgh Center for Robotics is to extend the autonomy of these robots to send them, or their descendants, in hostile environments such as Mars. The UK research team is lead by Prof. Sethu Vijayakumar.
Weighing 125 kg and standing 1.8m tall, Valkyrie will enable breakthroughs in humanoid control, motion planning and perception. The robot could help the space agency with the colonization of Mars by helping to construct a habitat for future human space explorers. The delay of communication between the Earth and the Red Planet prevent humans to remotely control robots on Mars’ surface; robots that will be needed to build structures, habitats, do common work or even scientific tasks. This delay between these two planets, which can be from 3 to 21 minutes in a one-way transmission, basically removes the possibility of remote control. If the project is successful, Valkyrie could receive general instructions and choose how to organize work time and which tool to use to fulfill various instructions. Valkyrie is also equipped with a Multisense SL Camera and LIDAR array to track its surroundings easily. Advancements in artificial intelligence and faster computers will certainly help Valkyrie perform such tasks. Humans will certainly need robots to help discover and explore planets throughout our galaxy.
Michael takes pictures of Arianespace VA233 milestone mission
On 17 November 2016 at 10.06 am Ariane 5 VA233 blasted off into space from the Guiana Space Center (CSG) in French Guiana. With this milestone mission Arianespace placed four more satellites for the Galileo constellation in orbit.
Galileo, an iconic project for Europe, is a new civil global satellite navigation system. Under civilian control, it will offer a guaranteed, high-precision positioning service and will end Europe’s dependence on the American GPS system. The program is funded and owned by the European Union, with overall responsibility for management and implementation held by the European Commission. To date, 14 Galileo satellites have been orbited by Arianespace Soyuz launchers on seven missions from French Guiana. With the inaugural Ariane 5 launch, this number was increased to 18. When complete, the Galileo system will consist of 24 operational satellites, along with the ground infrastructure for the provision of positioning, navigation and timing services.
Michael wants to thank Arianespace for their great support and photo permission. Special thanks also to Hasselblad for the technical support which made it possible to portray this historic mission in a very unique way.
12 October, 2016
Michael Najjar is one of the few Hasselblad Ambassadors worldwide.
There are few achievements in the history of man that rival our explorations into space. And few images as unifying, moving, and widely recognized as those photographs taken during these journeys. Photos that have changed the way we see our world and ourselves. Few would deny that the now over four decades of space photography have given us a new worldview. No, the basic laws of science have not changed as a result of these images; no, the ideas of Kepler, Newton, and Einstein have not been eclipsed by photos from beyond our planet. However these pictures from space have added new dimensions to our understanding of this, our own small section of the Milky Way. They have changed the way we view the universe and our part in it. They have made us feel small, made us feel large, and made us feel bound to one another as humans. 12 Hasselblad cameras have been on the moon and many others in space.
Michael visits the new SpaceShipTwo at SpaceShipCompany in the Mojave desert.
Michael is a Virgin Galactic Pioneer Astronaut since 2011 and plans to travel into space with Richard Branson´s SpaceShipTwo in the near future. The spaceship vehicles are designed to carry two pilots and six passengers on launches into suborbital space. On 31 October 2014 (Michael´s Birthday) during a test flight, VSS Enterprise, the first SpaceShipTwo craft, broke up in flight and crashed in the Mojave desert. A preliminary investigation suggested the feathering system, the craft's descent device, deployed too early.
After more than one year of intensive work by the VG team the second SpaceShipTwo spacecraft, VSS Unity, was unveiled on 19 February 2016. The vehicle is currently undergoing ground and air system integration testing. Michael was given the opportunity to visit the SpaceShipCompany factory located in the Mojave desert and also talk to the engineers about their work.
12 September, 2016
„Space Suite“ shortlisted for European Hotel Award
Michael has created a truly out-of-this-world experience at the Kameha Grand Hotel Zurich, Switzerland - an entire futuristic space station housed in a new hotel building. The “Space Suite” has now been nominated and shortlisted for the prestigious European Hotel Design Awards which celebrate exceptional hotel design and architecture, honouring the work of leading architects, artists and designers. The awards acknowledge creativity, innovation and excellence across thirteen different categories. They are judged by a panel of industry experts and peers representing the various disciplines involved in new hotel projects across Europe.
La Maisonette at JW Marriott Resort & Spa, Venice
Matteo Thun & Partners
Milano Suite at Mandarin Oriental, Milan
Antonio Citterio Patricia Viel and Partners
The Presidential Suite at DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel & Spa, Liverpool
Falconer Chester Hall
The Royal Suite at The Lanesborough, London
Alberto Pinto Interior Design
The Sterling Suite at The Langham, London
The Space Suite at Kameha Grand, Zurich
Studio Michael Najjar
25 July, 2016
Michael Najjar photographs the Vulcain 2 rocket engine in France
In July 2016 Michael Najjar went to Vernon and Les Mureaux in France to take pictures of the assembly of the Vulcain 2 engine and its integration in the Ariane 5 launcher main stage. Vulcain rocket engines have been used since 1996 to propel Ariane 5 rockets in their first ten minutes of flight, up to an altitude of 200 km. Overall, they provide 8% of the total thrust needed at liftoff, and the full thrust of the propulsion phase after booster separation and before ignition of the upper stage. The Vulcain is ignited by three pyrotechnic devices on the launch pad; six seconds later the solid rocket boosters are ignited and the rocket lifts off.
The engine measures 3m high, 1.76m in diameter, weighs 1,686 kg and is located at the centre of the base of Ariane 5. It delivers 115 tonnes of thrust, achieving this by mixing two cryogenic liquids: hydrogen at –251°C and oxygen at –184°C. Connected to the Vulcain are tanks holding 25 tonnes of liquid hydrogen and 130 tonnes of liquid oxygen. These cryogenic propellants are channelled into the Vulcain’s high-pressure combustion chamber via two turbo pumps. Hydrogen bursts into flame on contact with oxygen inside this chamber in a chemical reaction that generates very hot combustion gases which are expelled by gas expansion through the nozzle at supersonic velocities higher than 4,000 m/s, giving the needed thrust to the launcher.
02 June, 2016
“space garden“ at museum Marta Herford
Michael Najjar´s work "space garden" is currently on view at museum Marta Herford, Germany as part of the exhibition "Unsettling Green - Focusing on a color". What happens when we see green – instead of, for example, red? In this first exhibition on a “disturbing” colour, its topicality, its contemporary functions and meanings are at the centre of an extremely exciting presentation. Different aspects and interconnections are presented in painting, installations and video, giving rise to a lively panorama of the contemporary relevance or a colour which is as everyday as it is irritating.
“space garden” visualizes the idea of future greenhouses in space. It is based on photographs taken at the Eden Project, which is a complex of artificial biomes set in Cornwall in the south of England. The giant multidome greenhouse is related to Buckminster Fuller’s geodesic structures and houses over 100,000 plants collected from all around the world. “space garden” explores the idea of how the experiences made by Eden Project could one day help in installing a biome on a spaceship or a space station – or even in creating an autonomous ecosystem, a habitat for plants on the Moon or on Mars. It also questions how zero or microgravity affects the growth of plants. Plants can grow even when not rooted in soil; they always grow in the direction of the light.
Every year, the Italian city of Reggio Emilia hosts a spectacular photography festival entitled Fotografia Europea, and the 2016 edition will be its 11th, bringing a rich cultural program spread across the town and its cultural institutions. The main theme of Fotografia Europea 2016 will be roads, journeys, borders. Accompanied by conferences, performances, educational initiatives and other events, Fotografia Europea 2016 will put an emphasis on the role of photography in contemporary society. By appointing the concept of “roads” as its main focus, the festival examines the theory and practice of the medium in the last three decades, its borders, frontiers and transit points.
Michael Najjar was invited to present works from his "outer space" series at Palazzo da Mosta.
Exhibition dates: 6 May - 10 July 2016 www.fotografiaeuropea.it
01 April, 2016
„outer space“ exhibition opens in New York
Benrubi Gallery presents Michael Najjar's solo exhibition, "outer space"- the artist’s first show with the gallery and the first major showing of this series in New York City. On view are 10 large scale photographs, 3 video works and vision statements by Buzz Aldrin and Michael Lopez-Algeria.
521 West 26th Street 2nd floor
New York, NY 10001 www.benrubigallery.com
Gallery Hours: Tuesday – Saturday, 10am - 6pm
11 March, 2016
VA229 Mission successful launched into space
Arianespace’s second launch of 2016 succesfully took place on the 9th of March. The Ariane 5 rocket roared into the start night sky of French Guyana to orbit the EUTELSAT 65 West A satellite for the international operator Eutelsat Communications.
Michael has spent 3 weeks at the Space Center Guyana (CSG) to take pictures from the preparation of the the Ariane 5 Launcher, the integration of the huge satellite and the launch itself.
Virgin Galactic unveils new spaceship 16 months after fatal crash
Sixteen months after a tragic crash during a test flight which killed a pilot, Virgin Galactic unveiled its newly built spaceship on Friday 19 February in a ceremony at the company’s factory in Mojave, California.
Professor Stephen Hawking named the new vehicle Virgin Spaceship (VSS) Unity. The testing phase will start soon.Unity will be tested as a whole craft, first on the ground; then in tethered flight to the carrying aircraft; then in controlled glide; then finally in powered flight.
Michael was given the rare opportunity to take pictures of an Ariane 5 launch campaign at the Centre Spacial Guyannais (CSG) near Kourou in French Guyana. Operational since 1968, it is particularly suitable as a location for a spaceport because it is quite close to the equator, so that the spinning earth can impart some extra velocity to the rockets for free when launched eastward. The European Space Agency (ESA), the French space agency CNES (National Centre for Space Studies), and the commercial Arianespace company conduct launches from Kourou.
Michael will follow the assembly of an Ariane 5 Rocket as well as the integration of a communication satellite which will be send to the geostationary orbit for broadcasting the Olympic Games in Brazil. The launch of the vehicle and the integrated satellite is scheduled for 9th March 2016.
13 November, 2015
Michael inaugurates solo exhibition „outer space“ at Kunstverein Oldenburg, Germany
Oldenburger Kunstverein presents Michael`s solo exhibition "outer space“. Since time immemorial the firmament of heaven has been a place of wonder and speculation for all cultures of humanity on which they have projected their hopes and deepest desires. The stars serve for geographic orientation and spiritual guidance, astronomical events are thought to explain terrestrial happenings, they are the objects of cultural production in all disciplines. The possibility of leaving the Earth now raises fundamental questions in our understanding of who we are and where we come from. The attempt to penetrate outer space bears testimony to our innate sense of curiosity, our desire to broaden and push back frontiers.
The exhibition presents 23 large-scale photographic and video works.
Exhibition dates: 13 Nov 2015 - 17 Jan 2015
31 October, 2015
Exo-Evolution Exhibition at ZKM Museum, Karlsruhe
Michael participates with several works from the „outer space“ series at the exhibition "EXO-EVOLUTION" which is part of the ZKM GLOBALE. The exhibition focuses on the entanglement of art and science and the artistic use of new technologies.
Over the course of thousands of years, mankind has created a culture of tools, which has expanded the boundaries of our perception, our capacities to act, and the world. Mankind has outsourced its bodily functions: the hand to the hammer, the spoken to the written word, memory to clay tablets, books and computers, etc. Through technology humans transcend evolution and liberate themselves from the powers of nature. With their tools and externalized artificial organs, they create a man-made exo-evolution, which has initiated the age of the anthropocene.
The Exo-Evolution exhibition shows this new reality, which is shaped by new discoveries in space research, molecular biology, neurology, genetics, or quantum computing. It shows us visions and solutions for the problems of the twenty-first century, such as separating oxygen from CO2 to combat the climate crisis, or novel organisms, which have adapted to and optimized themselves due to serious environmental pollution.
Curated by Peter Weibel
Co-curated by Sabiha Keyif, Philipp Ziegler, Giulia Bini
Michael took pictures at :envihab - Future Research Center for Space and Earth
The German Space Center DLR gave Michael access to the recently opened „:envihab - Future Research Center for Space and Earth“.
What happens to the human body on a flight to Mars? How does being confined to bed after a serious illness impact the body? How does the lack of daylight affect mood? Are there any measures to counteract these adverse effects? These basic questions need to be answered for us on Earth, to understand the effects of ageing, bedriddenness, immobilisation, and isolation, to name but a few. The DLR Institute of Aerospace Medicine is a world leader in aviation and space medicine. With its one-of-a-kind, highly sophisticated medical research facility, :envihab, the Institute is taking a step forward in its ground-breaking research into the ways in which people adjust to extreme environments and other stressful situations.
One of :envihab’s most essential and unique features is the new Short-Arm Centrifuge. This centrifuge boasts advanced functional possibilities for hypergravity studies, enabling :envihab scientists to test for medical risks incurred in a weightless environment.
Michael took pictures of this cutting edge new machine for the „outer space“ series.
07 October, 2015
Michael opens the world´s first Space Suite in Zurich
Michael has created an out of this world experience at Kameha Grand Hotel Zürich, Switzerland: A futuristic space station inside a new hotel building. The idea behind the Space Suite is to create an immersive environment which makes the hotel guest - the crew member - feel like living on a space station.
Features include a female computer voice inspired by John Carpenter’s science fiction film Dark Star to welcome the crew member and guide him through the station. 3D printed spot lights inspired by rocket engines, a space glove where crew members can place their phones or key cards, a floating bed, a carpet which pictures the reverse universe, mirrored on the ceilling, mock ups of historic rockets and space ships. Crew members can also relax using an IPod, an extensive library and a mediathek filled with selected books and movies related to the topic of space travel.
Michael also installed 3 original large scale artworks of his „outer space series“, including the 2 screen video installation „orbital cascade_57-46“, showing the increasing quantity of debris in space.
The „Space Suite“ is a sculptural artwork which has become a habitable zone. On important aspect to achieve the immersive feeling is the fact that every view to the outside is blocked to concentrate the guest´s experience to everything what´s happening inside. One of the covered windows quotes the entire Monologue of HAL 9000, the famous board computer of Stanley Kubricks 2001 - A Space Odessey. TV Channels are banned completely, but the guest will have a live stream from the Internatinola Space Station (ISS) and a 24/7 direct link to NASA TV.
The Space Suite has been commissioned by Kameha CEO Carsten Rath. All features in the Suite including furniture, carpets and lighting were created by Michael. He was allowed to let his imagination run riot when designing the room, with the only condition that it had to have a bed and a toilet.
One day we will see hotels floating in space. What Michael did at Kameha Grand Zurich is a space station floating in a hotel.
24 September, 2015
Studio La Città presents Michael´s solo show "outer space“
Michael presents his solo exhibition „outer space“ at Studio la Città, Verona, Italy. It´s the second solo show at the gallery and the first presentation of the work in Italy. The exhibition features 11 large scale photographs and projections of 4 video works from the series.
Michael completed basic suborbital space training program at NASTAR
NASTAR Center in Philadelphia is the first FAA safety approved facility able to meet the training requirements for commercial human spaceflight, both suborbital and orbital. It is recognized as the leader in the development and delivery of training for the commercial space industry and is uniquely positioned to enable research to improve the health and safety of humans in extreme environments.
Michael completed together with several other Virgin Galactic Future Astronauts the basic suborbital space training.
The training program included:
Space Vehicles & Flight
Motion Environment & Orientation
Life Support Systems and Suits
Physiological and Psychological Effects
G Protection, Countermeasures & Skills
Space Safety and Emergency Procedures
G-Tolerance Flights and Simulated Space Flights
Flight profile SpaceshipTwo at the Phoenix Centrifuge
08 September, 2015
Michael Najjar – one of the first test persons to perform jump and vibration training on the next generation DLR centrifuge
In 2014 The Institute of Aerospace Medicine at the German Aerospace Center DLR in Cologne started operating its cutting edge :envihab - Future Research Center for Space and Earth. With this one-of-a-kind, highly sophisticated medical research facility the Institute has taken a step forward in its ground-breaking research into the ways in which people adjust to extreme environments and other stressful situations. One of the :envihab’s key modules is the new Short-Arm Human Centrifuge (SAHC).
This centrifuge provides advanced functional possibilities for hypergravity studies that enable scientists to investigate countermeasures which prevent the development of medical risks induced by a weightlessness environment. As one of the first test persons on the brand new implemented jumping sledge and vibrating platform on the futuristic centrifuge, Michael Najjar undertook a very unusual and highly strenuous training session.
Two key components determine space travel: acceleration (G-forces) and microgravity (weightlessness). The human body is constructed to perform in a gravity environment. When gravity is absent, as it is in space, the human body starts to adapt to weightlessness: bones lose their minerals, muscles atrophy and the cardiovascular system slows down. To guard against such effects, astronauts need to take exercise. Some of the most demanding aspects of a (sub)orbital flight in a spaceship are launch acceleration and re-entry deceleration. The resulting G acceleration can cause a number of neurovestibular and cardiovascular problems while acceleration (G) can be dangerous because of the risk of gravity-induced loss of consciousness (G-LOC). If G-forces exceed a certain level and time, the brain loses its blood supply and exceeds its oxygen reserves. The syndromes a spaceship passenger might experience include loss of peripheral vision, tunnel vision, grayout, blackout, loss of consciousness, and loss of motor control.
In the second part of his training Michael´s physical endurance was stretched to the limit. Compared to a long-arm centrifuge the SAHC has a much higher acceleration gradient which makes the G-forces produced much harder for the human body to handle. After 60 seconds of 4G acceleration with G-forces traveling vertically from head to foot through his body, Michael experienced a blackout. The experimental personal training was performed under strict medical supervision and Michael´s body functions were under real-time control at every moment. What makes this centrifuge unique is its combination of different training modes and the real-time storing and processing of different forces like ground reaction force and kinematic force.
This centrifuge training was part of Michael Najjar´s preparations for his spaceflight and at the same time a performative act forming part of his current “outer space” series. Experience of extreme situations is of deep relevance to Michael’s work as an artist as it enables him to learn more about how his own body and mental perceptions respond to, and are changed by, conditions of extreme duress.
Michael wishes to thank DLR, :envihab, and especially Guido Petrat, Timo Frett, Klaus Müller and Friederike Wütscher for their fantastic support.
The video footage was shot by Dieter Jaufmann.
Technical support by Hasselblad + RED Digital video // SAHC-training
08 July, 2015
Solo exhibition at Museo Es Baluard, Palma, Spain
The Es Baluard Museum of Contemporary Art presents the solo exhibition
„Who Gave Us The Sponge To Wipe Away The Entire Horizon? Video works from the outer space series“.
The exhibition shows various chapters and situations from Michael´s extensive astronaut training. His three video works equilibrium (2013), spacewalk (2013) and skyfall (2015), now shown for the first time in Spain, range from a supersonic flight in a MiG-29 and a HALO (High Altitude Low Opening) jump from a height of 10,000 meters to the depths of a massive hydrolab in Russia’s Star City. The Installation concept of the video works was especially developed for the Museum.
Museo Es Baluard
Plaça Porta de Santa Catalina, 10
07012 Palma de Mallorca, Spain
Exhibition at Galería Juan Silió, Santander, Spain
Galería Juan Silió presents the third solo exhibition of Berlin based artist Michael Najjar at the gallery. On view are several large scale works from Michael Najjar´s current series "outer space including the brand new work "serious anomaly". Prior to the openening at the gallery space Michael´s documentary film „MISSION:SPACE“ was presented for the first time in a movie theater at the Filmoteca Santander. The Documentary shows different stages of Michael´s astronaut trainings in Russia, Germany and the United States.
New artwork related to the SpaceshipTwo Crash
On October 31, 2014, the Virgin Galactic SpaceShipTwo vehicle suffered a catastrophic in-flight breakup and crashed in the Mojave Desert, California. The spacecraft was performing a powered test flight from the Mojave Air and Space Port in which it was dropped from the WhiteKnightTwo carrier aircraft, VMS Eve. About eleven seconds later, the space plane violently broke apart. This accident raises fundamental questions about the relationship between man and machine, humans and technology. The co-pilot, Michael Alsbury, was killed and the pilot, Peter Siebold, was seriously injured. "serious anomaly" is a depiction of the experience of failure which is a fundamental part of all our lives. The composition is a reinterpretation of Caspar David Friedrich´s iconic painting Das Eismeer (1824) (The Sea of Ice - The Wreck of Hope - Die gescheiterte Hoffnung) widely considered as the supreme incarnation of the idea of failure. The painting underscores the relationship between man and nature but also that of technology and nature, as the expeditionary ship is crushed between the implacable shards of ice.
"serious anomaly" is based on a selection of photographs taken by photo reporters in the Mojave Desert immediately after the crash. The pictures from the real event are interspersed with footage the artist shot from the spaceship during previous test flights. The ship in Friedrich´s painting has been replaced by the pilot´s seat.
10 May, 2015
New artwork „oscillating universe“
The new work visualizes the "Big Bounce" theory which offers a hypothetical model of the birth of our universe.
It is implied by the cyclic model or oscillatory universe interpretation of the Big Bang where the first cosmological event was the result of the collapse of a previous universe. According to the oscillatory universe theory, the Big Bang was simply the beginning of a period of expansion that followed a period of contraction. This suggests that we could be living at any point in an infinite sequence of universes, or conversely the current universe could be the very first iteration. The work depicts the Universe existing before our known Universe; it offers a glimpse of time before the Big Bang. The composition is based on super high res data visualization taken by the Hubble Space Telescope. Several parts of our Universe have been stitched together to form a new fictive Universe. The fact that this Universe is visually inverted (white space, black stars) draws on the idea that the previous Universe underwent a process of contraction before entering a black hole, turning inside out and creating the Universe we know.
A new production technique has been developed togehter with Berlin based laboratory „das foto image factory“, the artwork includes hundreds of small metal particles which are reflecting like stars in the picture.
Michael himself distributes by hand the stars in the Universe.
17 April, 2015
Article in The Wall Street Journal
The Wallstreet Journal has featured in its print edition from 16th of April, 2015 a large article on Michael´s "outer space" series.
Michael Najjar exhibits at Peter Kilchmann Gallery, Zurich
Michael Najjar exhibits the work „space garden“ at the renown Swiss gallery Peter Kilchmann. The work is included in the group show „Fühlst du nicht an meinen Liedern, dass ich Eins und Doppelt bin“. The exhibition brings together a group of artworks that portray the encounter of nature, science and aesthetics. The works are of a dual identity, shifting between the realms of the aesthetic and the scientific.
Exhibition dates: 16th January - 28th February, 2015
Curated by Adriana Domínguez Velasco and Mateo Chacón Pino www.peterkilchmann.com
15 January, 2015
MISSION:SPACE - Documentary Film Preview
Artist Michael Najjar is preparing himself for a journey into space as part of his "outer space" art project.
A new documentary film shows his preparations at various aerospace training centers in the USA, Germany and Russia. The film will be released in Spring 2015.
Michael participates at Kochi-Muziris Biennale, India
Michael Najjar´s has been invited to participate at the 2nd Kochi-Muziris Biennale in Kerala, India. “Whorled Explorations“, the central exhibition features 94 artists from 30 countries.
The 14th to 16th Century was the time when astronomer-mathematicians belonging to what came to be known as the Kerala School of Astronomy and Mathematics, were making transformative propositions for understanding our planet and locating human existence within the wider cosmos. They were making mathematical breakthroughs, amongst them treatises on trigonometry and calculus. Acknowledging this vibrant history, Kochi might serve as an interesting site to invoke the mysterious expedition of our planet Earth, our shared dwelling hurtling through space at a dizzying velocity. None of the interdependent co-habitants of this twirling tenement seem to experience its speed or comprehend its direction; a productive state of uncertainty from where we may investigate several questions about our existence, take stock of our collective conflicts and ecological footprint, even as we continue to examine our place in an ever-inflating cosmos. Whorled Explorations is conceived as a temporary observation deck hoisted at Kochi. The exhibition draws upon a wide glossary of signs from this legendary maritime gateway to bring together sensory and conceptual propositions that map our world referencing history, geography, cosmology, time, space, dreams and myths.
Michael Najjar presents his video work “orbital cascade_57-46“ at the Biennale. The Video visualizes the quantity of defunct objects in orbit around the Earth from 1957 to 2046. This includes everything from spent rocket stages, and old satellites to fragments resulting from disintegration, erosion, and collisions. Currently there are about 600,000 objects larger than 1 cm in space, orbiting Earth at a velocity of approximately 28,000 kmph and posing a severe threat to satellites, space stations, and manned space flights. Each spherule in the video represents a real existing object orbiting in space starting with the very first object in space, the Sputnik 1 satellite launched in 1957. The year 2013 marks the start of a simulated worst-case future scenario that assumes two realistic collisions, which would dramatically increase the amount of space debris, collisions known in aeronautics as the “cascade effect.” The visualization was realized in collaboration with the Institute of Aerospace Systems/TU Braunschweig, Germany.
"Michael Najjar - outer space book published - Introduction essay by Buzz Aldrin
Berlin based publishing house DISTANZ has launched Michael´s first comprehensive book publication on the "outer space" series.
One hallmark of Najjar's creative drive is the decidedly empirical hands-on approach he adopts. The performative aspect or "living through" his motifs, the artist believes, is essential. He began work on his current series at Russia's Star City by embarking on some of the same rigorous training modules taken by future astronauts and cosmonauts. Defying physical limitations, Najjar pushed his body to the extreme in a grueling series of stratospheric and zero-g flights, centrifuge and spacewalk training sessions, recording the events on camera with a view to probing how extreme physical duress affects his own body's sensory systems. The cultural dimensions of cutting-edge space technology, its implications for future insights into the Universe, and the repercussions it holds for our society are further key issues in his work. This book offers fascinating insights into Najjar's preparatory training for his spaceflight, and presents the first cycle of works from the "outer space" series.
With special essays by Buzz Aldrin, Anousheh Ansari, Andreas Beitin, Pierre Cox, Lord Norman Foster, Michael López-Alegría and Sir Tim Smit together with a conversation between Camilla Péus and Michael Najjar.
31 October, 2014
SpaceshipTwo crashes during testflight
On 31st October 2014, Virgin galactic´s SpaceshipTwo crashed in the Mojave Desert,from the Mojave Air and Space Port in which it was dropped from the WhiteKnightTwo carrier aircraft, VMS Eve. The test flight was to include the first flight testing of a new, more powerful and steadier-thrust hybrid rocket engine whose binding agent was based on nylon instead of rubber.
SpaceShipTwo dropped from the mother ship and fired its new hybrid rocket engine normally. About eleven seconds later, the space plane violently broke apart, substantially giving the appearance of an explosion, and creating a 35-mile (56 km) long debris field. The co-pilot, Michael Alsbury, was killed in the crash, whereas the pilot, Peter Siebold, survived with serious injuries. Despite considerable early conjecture that the new rocket engine was at fault in the loss of VSS Enterprise, this was quickly discounted when the craft's engine and propellant tanks were recovered intact, indicating there was no explosion due to either the solid (nylon-based) or liquid (nitrous oxide) components of the hybrid engine.
A preliminary investigation and cockpit video subsequently indicated that the feathering system, the ship's air-braking descent device, deployed too early. Two seconds later, while still under rocket propulsion, the craft disintegrated. It is likely that a pilot error was the proximate cause of the crash.
15 October, 2014
"outer space" presented in Parabol Art Magazine Curated issue by Peter Weibel (Director ZKM)
Parabol Art Magazine focuses on the representation of contemporary art in graphic space. Each issue is produced by a curator. Each curator´s task is to examine a contemporary phenomenon in pictures and words on the basis of artistic points of view. Over a period of time, the total pattern created by all of the issues will result in a reflection of central spotlights of contemporary art production, like a two-dimensional exhibition. With its notorious size, the image itself is the main focus of the publication. The"retooling issue" curated by Peter Weibel brings together thirteen artists operating at the intersection of art, science and technology.
Michael Najjar, Ryoji Ikeda, Diemut Strebe, robotlab, Verena Friedrich, Berndnaut Smilde, Random International, Scenocosme, Philip Beesley, Tomás Saraceno, Thomas Feuerstein, Yunchul Kim, Lynn Hershman
Michael took pictures at Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan
On Friday, Sept. 26 2014 Soyuz TMA-14M successfully launched aboard a Soyuz-FG rocket from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 2:25 AM local time. The rocket is launched with Expedition 41 Soyuz Commander Alexander Samokutyaev of the Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos) Flight Engineer Elena Serova of Roscosmos, and Flight Engineer Barry Wilmore of NASA. Samokutyaev, Serova, and Wilmore will spend the next five and a half months aboard the International Space Station, Serova will become the fourth Russian woman to fly in space and the first Russian woman to live and work on the station. Michael has photographed the launch at the historic Launch Pad 1 at Baikonour Cosmodrome.
The Cosmodrome is the world's first and largest operational space launch facility. It is located in the desert steppe of Kazakhstan, about 200 km east of the Aral Sea, north of the Syr Darya river, near Tyuratam railway station, at 90 meters above sea level. It is leased by the Kazakh government to Russia (until 2050) and is managed jointly by the Russian Federal Space Agency and the Russian Aerospace Defence Forces. It was originally built by the Soviet Union in the late 1950s as the base of operations for its space program. Under the current Russian space program, Baikonur remains a busy spaceport, with numerous commercial, military and scientific missions being launched annually. All manned Russian spaceflights are launched from Baikonur. Both Vostok 1, the first manned spacecraft in human history with Yuri Gagarin on board, and before it, Sputnik 1, the world's first orbital spaceflight, were launched from one of Baikonur's launch pads.
02 September, 2014
Michael´s work featured in ELEFANT Art Magazine
Dutch art magazine ELEFANT´s current summer issue #19 "artists in space" is dedicated to 5 international artists working on the topic of space including Philippe Weisbecker, Cristina de Middel, Ushio & Noriko Shinohara Gerd & Uwe Tobias and Michael Najjar.
The issue aims to find out how these artists have embraced interactive media in their interpretations of the final frontier.
Michael´s latest work is presented along with an interview with chief editor Amandas Ong.
Michael is the first artist ever to perform a HALO Jump from an altitude of 10,000 m / 32,800 ft
On 30th June and 1st July 2014 Michael Najjar performed two HALO Jumps at the West Tennessee Skydiving Center in the USA. HALO is short for High Altitude Low Opening and the jump is the most dangerous of all skydiving techniques. Invented by the U.S. Air Force, only 135 civilians worldwide have made a HALO jump so far. Michael is the world´s first artist to make this extreme skydiving adventure experience.
Hooked to a Tandem Master, Michael jumped from an aircraft in the drop zone at 10,000 meters (32,800 ft) altitude, hurtling toward earth in an adrenaline-pumping two minute free-fall at a velocity of 320 km / 200 mph. His full equipment, needed to endure such a testing free-fall, included a HGU 55/P Ballistic Helmet, MBU 12 Oxygen Mask, Tactical Goggles, an Airox VIII 02 regulator and Twin 53 Bailout Bottle Assemblies.
3 solo jumpers equipped with video cameras also joined Michael on his free-fall towards earth. In a complex choreography elaborated and rehearsed prior to the jump, the cameramen braved the extreme challenges of high altitude descent to shoot the video material Michael had asked them for. Michael Najjar will now use this extraordinary footage to create a new video work exploring the relationship between the human body and Earth's gravitation that will be yet another facet of his current "outer space" series.
The artist wishes to thank the incredible team who made all this possible:
Andreas Bergweiler (COO Space Affairs & Mission Director)
Kevin Holbroock (Director, West Tennessee Skydiving Center)
Mark Gerlach (Michael´s Tandem Master)
Alex Gubanov (1st cameraman carrying the RED Dragon camera)
Keith Arceneaux (2nd cameraman)
Reid Larson (3rd cameraman)
Nate Heartt (camera operator, RED camera operator)
Camera support: RED Digital Cinema Camera Company
30 September, 2014
HALO Jump - video documentation
To whatch a 6 min. video documentation of Michael´s HALO Jump click here: www.vimeo.com
02 April, 2014
First presentation of "outer space" in Berlin
The Berlin art scene is enriched by a further highlight with the presentation of leading works from the Wemhöner Collection. In the Osram-Höfen, in the erstwhile Max Hetzler gallery, a good tenth of the collection is on display featuring works of over 30 internationally renowned artists. Heiner Wemhöner backs long-term art projects and supports visions that deal with fundamental questions of human existence – like Michael's "outer space" project which explores the cultural significance of present-day and future space flight. Six large scale photographic works and one video installation from the "outer space" series are presented in the exhibition.
The exhibition is curated by Philipp Bollmann
Dates: 22 March - 18 April, 2014
Opening hours: Thurs – Sun 1.00 – 6.00 pm
Oudenarder Str. 16-20, House A,
Entry 9 3rd floor
The current issue of the online magazine "uncube" is dedicated to outer space featuring Michael´s artworks and an interview between Chief editor Sophie Lovell and Michael.
The issue is a journey through time and space, including an interview about Michael´s training as an astronaut, then a short wait for the Space Elevator, before blasting off through the stratosphere, dropping in on the International Space Station (for a bit of toilet training), and heading on with Lukas Feireiss to the Moon. Considering the space races, old and new, featuring Galina Balashova's beautiful designs for the Soyuz, Mir, and Buran, whilst looking at today's focus of action: mining rights and colony plans on Mars. With Ricardo Scofidio talking to uncube about the issues of space architecture, Klaus wondering what Mars will be like awash with starchitects and developers, and Herbert Wright proposing an out-of-body road map to colonising the stars, we've got the galaxy covered!
DISTANZ is a young Berlin publishing house with a growing international reputation founded by Christian Boros and Uta Grosenick. DISTANZ Publishing specializes in books and exhibition catalogues on the visual arts, photography, architecture, and design. In collaboration with leading editors and authors, it produces artists' monographs and anthologies for names such as Olafur Eliasson, Alicja Kwade, Martin Kippenberger, Anselm Reyle, John Baldessari, Monica Bonvicini, and Tomás Saraceno.
Michael Najjar's "outer space" will be published in autumn 2014.
For the past year the magazine of the Süddeutsche Zeitung – Germany's leading liberal national daily - has accompanied Michael Najjar on his travels as he prepares for his forthcoming flight into space. Till Krause has written a gripping account of the artist submerged in a deep water tank, whirled in a centrifuge and breaking the sound barrier in a flight through the stratosphere. He also shows how Michael Najjar transforms the raw mass of his extreme experience into works of art.
An ARTE Journal camera team was sent to film one of the world´s most extraordinary sites: ALMA, the world's largest telescope array in the Atacama Desert in Chile. In the extremely dry air of the Chajnantor plateau at 5000 meters altitude, editor Frédéric Méon and his team encountered Michael Najjar working on his latest project "outer space".
The documentary was broadcasted on Sunday evening, January 19, 2014.
Greenpeace Magazine´s first edition of 2014 is dedicated to views into the future. The edition features Michael´s "outer space" series, the text has been written by Svenja Bellmer.
Will we soon be floating in endless space? Technical progress is changing us and making reality of visions that used to belong in the celluloid realm of science fiction. Such is the stuff of Michael Najjar's art. His works whisk us into a future that's more realistic than we'd ever dare think. What does a man do who wants to go ever higher, ever further? He scales high buildings, skyscrapers, even the world's biggest. He climbs the tallest mountain in the southern hemisphere, 6962 meters high. And then when he's standing on the summit, he asks himself how he can get even higher, up into the sky, up and beyond. With a space ship of course! So Michael Najjar goes and does it...
Michael has done a photoshooting at the Atacama desert
Michael has travelled several weeks through the chilenian Atacama desert taking pictures for his "outer space series". On this challenging and adventureous trip Michael has been given the rare opportunity to photograph the extraordinary new ALMA telescope. The Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array is an international partnership of Europe, North America and East Asia in cooperation with the Republic of Chile, it is the largest astronomical project on the planet, it was inaugurated this year. ALMA is a single telescope of revolutionary design, composed of 66 high precision antennas located on the Chajnantor plateau, at 5200 meters altitude in northern Chile. ALMA is expected to provide insight on star birth during the early universe and detailed imaging of local star and planet formation.
Michael also photographed the Very Large Telescope (VLT) which is the flagship facility for European ground-based astronomy at the beginning of the third Millennium. Currently under construction at ESO Paranal cleanroom is a revolutionary new integral field spectrograph of unprecedented power called MUSE, which was also portrayed by Michael.
After one week with the cutting edge telescopes Michael worked for several days at the "mars and moon valley" where NASA and ESA are testing their future generations of moon and mars rovers. With special thanks to Laura Ventura and Francisco Rodríguez from ESO.
Michael returns to Star City for Cosmonaut Training
Michael once more returned to Star City to continue his cosmonaut training, this time taking a parabolic flight in a Russian Ilyushin II-76. The zero or microgravity of space is simulated by flying a series of parabolic flight maneuvers that counter the forces of gravity and allow astronauts and cosmonauts to learn how to perform tasks in conditions of zero gravity.
German scientists Fritz and Heinz Haber invented the parabolic flight in 1950, and over the past 50 years, aircraft flying parabolic trajectories have been an important stepping stone in space exploration and research. The trajectory starts with a climb, and halfway through it, lift and thrust are reduced to produce approximately 25 seconds of 0 g. During the 0 g phase, the plane reaches a plateau and begins to descend.
A state of weightlessness is something humans experience during every space flight. It means that the body has to operate in a completely different environment to the constant gravitational world in which it evolved. So research into the effects of microgravity on the human body is vital for sustaining humans in long-duration spaceflight, especially when they have to perform taxing operational tasks. What's more, some research in physics and chemistry, such as the study of fluid mechanics applied to fuel flow in spacecraft, can only be performed in conditions of microgravity. Ever since space exploration first began, only a few hundred people have had the privilege of experiencing the literally out of this world feeling of floating in total weightlessness.
Michael's zero-g training was part of the preparation for his upcoming spaceflight with Virgin Galactic. He was especially keen to learn how to handle his camera in conditions of weightlessness. On this trip Michael was again accompanied by the renowned German photographer Thomas Rusch who shot photo and video footage during the flight.
Special thanks to Andreas Bergweiler from Space Affairs who organized the training. www.space-affairs.com
08 October, 2013
Michael photographs at JPL cleanroom
Michael was given the rare opportunity to take pictures for his "outer space" series at JPL´s famous cleanroom. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory, located in Pasadena, California, is the lead U.S. center for robotic exploration of the solar system, and conducts major programs in space-based Earth sciences. Among the laboratory's current major active projects are the Mars Science Laboratory mission, the Cassini–Huygens mission orbiting Saturn, the Mars Exploration Rovers, the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, the Dawn mission to the dwarf planet Ceres and asteroid Vesta, the Juno spacecraft en route to Jupiter, the Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array X-ray telescope, and the Spitzer Space Telescope.
JPL grew up with the Space Age and helped bring it into being. It is a place where science, technology, and engineering intermix in unique ways: to produce iconic robotic space explorers sent to every corner of the solar system, to peer deep into the Milky Way galaxy and beyond, and to keep a watchful eye on our home planet. Analyzing the data pouring back from these machine emissaries, scientists around the world continue to discover how the universe, the solar system, and life formed and evolved.
During Michael´s shooting to future missions where under construction: The ISS-RapidScat instrument is a speedy and cost-effective replacement for NASA's QuikScat Earth satellite, which monitored ocean winds to provide essential measurements used in weather predictions, including hurricane monitoring. The other one, Soil Moisture Active Passive, or SMAP, is a future Earth satellite mission designed to measure and map Earth's soil moisture and freeze/thaw state to better understand terrestrial water, carbon and energy cycles.
The Eden Project is a complex of artificial biomes set in Cornwall in the south of England. The giant multidome greenhouse houses over 100,000 plants collected from all around the world. Opened in 2001, the project is the brainchild of Tim Smit and was designed by the architect Nicholas Grimshaw who created cupolas based on Buckminster Fuller´s concept of the geodesic dome. The Eden Project also focuses on environmental education with the aim of raising awareness about the interdependence of plants and people.
Tim Smit first hit on the idea for the Eden Project when he saw the 1972 science fiction movie Silent Running which depicts a future in which all plant life on earth is extinct. Only a few specimens have been preserved in enormous, greenhouse-like geodesic domes attached to a fleet of space freighters.
Michael was particularly keen to learn how experiences made in the Eden Project could be used in the future for the creation of artificial habitats in orbit, on the moon or on Mars.
Michael has visited the Virgin Galactic Assembly building at Mojave Air and Space Port during a Future Astronaut's meeting. Together with many others of his fellow future astronauts Michael has been offered a unique insight into the spaceship construction facility.
SpaceShipTwo is built to carry passengers on suborbital rides. The vehicle did its second powered test flight early September this year, breaking the sound barrier as it roared through the skies over the Mojave Desert. The spaceship was released at 46,000 feet (14,000 meters) and burned its hybrid rocket engine for 20 seconds, which was four seconds longer than on the previous flight. The craft reached a maximum altitude of 65,000 feet (19,812 m) and a top speed of Mach 1.6. Test pilots Mark Stucky and Clint Nichols put the six-passenger spaceship through its paces, conducting a test of the feather re-entry system for the first time in powered flight before guiding the vehicle to a safe touchdown on Runway 30 at the Mojave Air and Space Port.
Since 2011 Michael Najjar's is one of Virgin Galactics Pioneer Astronauts. His upcoming flight into space will make him the first artist in space.
last year michael photographed the short arm human centrifuge (sahc) at the german aerospace center, and now he's stepped on board to experience the delights of rotational training. provided by the european space agency, the sahc is a unique device that opens the way to fundamental research in the field of human space travel for development of countermeasures to gravity-induced changes in the human body and associated medical risks.
forces produced by the rotation of the centrifuge generate artificial gravity. Michael experienced this special gravitational force for the first time which gave him the distinctly weird feeling he was standing with his two feet firmly on the ground – even though he knew he was actually lying down. maximum radial acceleration at foot level is 5 g; Michael went up to 4 g at which point his body functions - which were being closely monitored - reached a critical level. this fascinating technology has been developed for future use in orbital space stations or long distance space flights like manned missions to mars.
with special thanks to vanja zander, guido petrat and frederike wütscher from german aerospace center.
20 February, 2013
"spacewalk" - first video work from the series
the video work "spacewalk" (2013) explores linkages between space, gravity and the human body. a cosmonaut glides down into what seems to be an industrial ambience. but the sudden appearance of the globe of the earth through a port hole dislocates the cosmonaut´s environment and puts into question the relationship between real-world and fabricated reality. the work draws on a cosmonaut training session taken by michael najjar in december 2012 at the gagarin cosmonaut training center in star city, russia.
the video work has been realised in collaboration with thomas rusch and dieter jaufmann.
technique: hd video, 2-channel sound, 3.30 min., edition of 6
22 January, 2013
michael najjar starts collaboration with hasselblad
world famous camera producer hasselblad will collobarate with michael najjar on his "outer sapce" series. the swedish company was founded in 1941 by victor hasselblad. for nearly four decades now, hasselblad has supplied camera equipment to the nasa space program. there are few achievements in the history of man that rival our explorations into space. and few images as unifying, moving, and widely recognized as those photographs taken during these journeys. photos that have changed the way we see our world and ourselves. these photos were taken with hasselblad cameras.
few would deny that the now over four decades of space photography have given us a new worldview. the basic laws of science have not changed as a result of these
images; the ideas of kepler, newton, and einstein have not been eclipsed by photos from beyond our planet. however these pictures from space have added new dimensions to our understanding of this, our own small section of the milky way. they have changed the way we view the universe and our part in it. they have made us feel small, made us feel large, and made us feel bound to one another as humans.
michael is very much honoured having the opportunity to work with the most advanced hasselblad camera systems to create new images and art work visualizing the future of space travel. hasselblad will be a longterm partner on the "outer space" project. www.hasselblad.com
16 December, 2012
michael najjar completes first phase of cosmonaut training
michael najjar has successfully completed his cosmonaut training program at the yuri gagarin training center (gctc) in star city. his first training phase included two major milestones: weightlessness in a spacewalk simulation with the heavy Orlan-M spacesuit in the gigantic water tank of the hydrolab, and an edge of space flight with the famous russian jetfighter mig-29 where he was catapulted with supersonic speed into the stratosphere reaching a height of 19,500 meters.
whilst completing his training michael also managed to shoot new material for his "outer space" series.
he was accompanied at star city by the renowned international photographer thomas rusch who made a photo and video documentary of the artist in training. www.thomasrusch.com
strategic planning, logistics and organization of michael´s mission was realized by space expert andreas p. bergweiler from pro toura / space affairs. www.space-affairs.com
23 June, 2017
michael najjar signs contract for cosmonaut training at yuri gagarin cosmonaut training center
being a part of his "outer space" series and as prepartion for his virgin galactic spaceflight michael najjar will undergo an extensive cosmonaut training at the gctc in russia. the cosmonaut training center was inaugurated on January 11, 1960 in star city outside moscow. in 1969 it was named after yuri gagarin, the first man to fly in space.
the main task of the gctc until today is the training of cosmonauts for various space missions, including simulation of spaceflights. michael´s training includes medical screening, mig 29 stratosphere flight, hydrolab spacewalk simulation, zentrifuge training, zero-g flight and several other exercises. the first part of the training will start in december 2012, the second will take place in spring 2013.
09 September, 2012
michael najjar photographs "short arm centrifuge (sahc)" at the german aerospace center.
michael najjar has photographed the short arm centrifuge (sahc) at the german aerospace center (dlr) in cologne for his new series. the short arm human centrifuge or sahc exploits the physics of rotating objects. it generates centripetal and centrifugal force which are the two physical forces needed to keep a body in orbit. the faster the speed of rotation and the further the subject is from the center of rotation, the higher the centrifugal force impacting on the body will be. test person experience an artificial gravitational force as their feet are pressed against the bottom of the nacelle so that they imagine they are standing even though they are actually lying down. at 45 rotations per minute people experience a gravitational force corresponding to over six times their own body weight. long-term biological and medical experiments have shown that zero gravity conditions cause significant changes to the metabolism of human muscles and bones. astronauts in space lose around one percent of body mass per month in the region of the lower spine, hips and upper thigh bones. scientific work at the dlr is designed to develop effective countermeasures to the neuromuscular and skeletal degeneration awaiting astronauts in space.
18 July, 2012
michael najjar photographs the james webb space telescope
in july 2012 michael najjar has been given the rare opportunity to photograph the golden mirrors of the james webb space telescope, which will replace the famous hubble space telescope in 2018.
the telescope is a project of NASA with international collaboration from the ESA and the Canadian Space Agency, including contributions from fifteen nations. the JWST's primary scientific mission has four main components: to search for light from the first stars and galaxies that formed in the Universe after the big bang, to study the formation and evolution of galaxies, to understand the formation of stars and planetary systems and to study planetary systems and the origins of life. looking beyond our own galaxy to more distant galaxy clusters, quasars, and gamma-ray bursts, the most distant objects viewable are also the "youngest," that is, they were formed during a time period closer in time to that of the big bang. we see them today because their light has taken billions of years to reach us. because the universe is expanding, as the light travels it becomes red-shifted and these objects are therefore easier to see if viewed in the infrared. JWST's infrared capabilities are expected to let it see all the way to the very first galaxies forming after the big bang.
Michael has given a talk at the TEDXKiruna Conference on 27 March 2012, presenting his new "outer space" project.
The city behind the artic circle has a long tradition in space industry and research. Spaceport Sweden is a company that plans to make Kiruna the primary European Spaceport for personal suborbital spaceflight and space tourism. The official inauguration of the company was made on 26 January 2007. The company started off by signing an agreement with Virgin Galactic. The agreement stated that the two would be working together towards an operational agreement whereby Spaceport Sweden would be the first spaceport outside the United States which Virgin Galactic can use for flight campaigns.
Michael took several pictures in Kiruna related to his new series.
world renown architect norman foster discusses the new series with michael najjar during madrid´s artfair "arco12". foster + partners have designed the new space-port for virgin galactic, located in the desert of new mexico, usa. next to mr. foster stands juan silió, michael´s spanish galerist.
23 February, 2012
article on wallpaper magazine
German photographer Michael Najjar has lived all around the world, from Rio de Janeiro to Tokyo via Havana and Madrid. But for his latest project he has gone one step further, exploring the new possibilities of space travel.
This new journey has taken him to the brand new Space-port America in New Mexico, designed by Foster + Partners for Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic venture. Najjar is known for his reflections on our computer- and technology-driven society; his previous project, 'High Altitude', visualised global stock market graphs using real craggy mountain ranges. But the Berlin-based photographer is about to reach even greater heights: one of Virgin Galactic's Pioneer Astronauts, he is plan-ning to be the first artist in space in 2013.
wallpaper magazine, february 2012
13 February, 2012
first work from the new series
the work "spaceport" shows spaceport america, the world´s first private spaceport. covering some 120,000 sq. ft., this futuristic building was designed by the world-famous architects foster + partners. built using local materials and regional construction techniques, the facility is practically energy self-sufficent through its use of a range of eco-friendly features including geothermal heating and cooling. the key conceptional idea behind the building is perfect integration in its natural environment, exemplifing the fusion of majestic landscape and cutting-edge technology.
lighjet-print, mounted on audibond and plexi, custom made aluminium frame
202 x 132 cm, edition of 6
102 x 67 cm, edition of 6
05 November, 2011
"first artist in space" - interview on artnet
British billionaire Sir Richard Branson had actually planned on catapulting the first paying guests into orbit with his spaceships in 2010. The founder of the Virgin Group has already built a spaceport in the New Mexican desert designed by star architect Sir Norman Foster and comprising of a passenger terminal, spaceship hangar and control center. A single roundtrip costs $ 200,000 and the first crewed flights with passengers are now scheduled for 2013. The maiden voyage into the great beyond is reserved for Branson himself and his two kids Sam and Holly, shortly to be followed by the "Pioneer Astronauts Group". The 45 year old Berlin artist Michael Najjar has secured his own seat with the pioneers of public space transport...
in 2011 michael najjar has signed a contract with richard branson´s virgin galactic and is now part of that exclusive group of pioneer astronauts, the first to fly into space as soon as virgin galactic starts operations.
michael and sir richard branson met in october 2011 on the occasion of the opening of "spaceport america" in the desert of new mexico, usa.
the virgin galactic gateway to space, a combined terminal and hangar facility, will support up to two WhiteKnightTwo and five SpaceShipTwo vehicles. in addition, the gateway will house all of the company's astronaut preparation and celebration facilities, a mission control center, and a friends and family area.
the iconic 120,000 square-foot building, was designed by world-renowned united kingdom-based foster + partners, along with urs corporation and local new mexico archi-tects smpc. the trio won an international competition in 2007 to build the first private spaceport in the world.
the new spaceship (SpaceshipTwo, VSS Enterprise) and carrier craft (WhiteKnightTwo, VMS Eve) have both been developed for virgin galactic by Mojave-based scaled composites. founded by burt rutan, Scaled developed SpaceShipOne, which in 2004 claimed the $10m Ansari X Prize as the world's first privately developed manned spacecraft. virgin galactic's new vehicles share much of the same basic design, but are being built to carry six customers, or the equivalent scientific research payload, on sub-orbital space flights, allowing an out-of-the-seat, zero-gravity experience and offering astounding views of the planet from the black sky of space.
michael´s spaceflight is scheduled for 2013 and will be a centerpiece of the "outer space" work series.
20 September, 2011
historic final mission
the space shuttle sts-135 atlantis soared into the heavens and the history books on july 8, kicking off the last-ever mission of nasa's storied shuttle program.
the launch marks the end of an era. the space shuttles have served as the complex workhorses of the u.s. manned space program for the last 30 years, playing a key role in the building and operation of the international space station (iss) and performing other important missions. the end of the shuttle program leaves the united states without its own manned spacecraft. but the final shuttle mission marks at the same time the beginning of a new development - the commercial spaceflight era. private companies like spacex, orbital sciences, sierra nevada corporation or virgin galactic are developing new launch and space transportation systems for future space travel.
michael went down to kennedy space center in florida to experience the unforgetable feeling of a shuttle launch and to photograph this historic event, which served him as a kick off for his new "outer space" series.
15 September, 2011
new series "outer space"
michael najjar has started to work on a new series which is entitled "outer space".
the primary purpose of the series is to introduce, nurture and expand a cultural dimension to humanity's current and future astronautical endeavors.
leaving the earth, going to the moon or another planet, exploring the universe, changes our ideas of who we are and where we belong. it changes the parameters that define what humans can and cannot do, and reveals humankind´s everlasting curiosity, our striving to look beyond boundaries, restrictions and limits. as mankind increasingly looks to space to find the answers to the
mysteries of the world and our own history, we are entering an exciting new era. as people are making more and more use of space in their daily lives, it is becoming a natural part of everyone's infrastructure. we will be wittnessing a paradigmatic change in the field of space exploration, new technologies will rise that we today we even can´t imagine. but for the future generations life in outer space will become an everyday reality.
this blog will keep you posted on the development and progressing of the new series.