A new re-edited version of the documentary film "MISSION:SPACE" is now released.
The movie shows rare and spectacular footage of the artist´s space training.
As one of the pioneer astronauts of Virgin Galactic, Michael Najjar will be embarking on SpaceShipTwo on one of its future spaceflights where he will be the first artist to travel in space. To prepare for this flight Najjar conducted an intensive astronaut training program at Star City (GCTC), Russia, the German Aerospace Center (DLR) in Cologne and the National Aerospace Training and Research (NASTAR) Center in the USA.
MiG 29 jetfighter flight into the stratosphere, Russia
One essential hallmark of Najjar’s work is the way it is deeply informed by an experiential hands-on approach. The intimate experience of “living through” situations which provide the leitmotifs of his art is vital to the artist. This performative aspect has also become a fundamental part of Najjar´s work process and will culminate in the artist´s own flight into space.
Centrifuge training at :envihab, German Aerospace Center DLR, Cologne
HALO jump from 10.000 m / 32.800 ft altitude
"Michael Najjar is acting, on the one hand, as a concept artist and, on the other as his own protagonist using his own body for the performative action. Through the use of his own body, Najjar‘s works are related to the Body Art movement, in which artists in the 1960s discovered use of their own bodies as material, and at the same time to Performance art which emerged from the marriage of performing arts and visual arts.“
Andreas Beitin, Director Museum Wolfsburg, Germany
06 January, 2022
new artwork "down to earth"
With its reusability technology, the American space company SpaceX has revolutionised space travel over the past 10 years. The hallmark of this development is the Falcon 9, the world’s first reusable orbital rocket. It is 70 m high, weighs 0.6 tons and is powered by nine Merlin engines with a total thrust of 845 kN. It can carry payloads of up to 25 tons into low-Earth orbit. Since its first flight in 2010 until the end of 2021 more than 130 launches will have been carried out. The first successful launch took place in 2015, two years later the first mission using a reusable stage was flown. In 2020, Falcon 9 with the Crew Dragon capsule flew astronauts to the ISS for the first time since the end of the Shuttle era. In April 2016, the first successful stable landing of a first-stage rocket was achieved on a floating platform, the autonomous spaceport drone ship (ASDS) off the coast of Florida. After numerous previous failed landing attempts that all ended in spectacular explosions, the first stage landed softly and remained steady despite heavy waves. Until then, landing rocket stages on drone ships in the middle of the ocean was considered almost impossible. Drone ships are a vital operational component in the SpaceX space programme; platform landings save fuel and mean that the payload to be transported into orbit can also be increased.
The art work “down to earth” shows a Falcon 9 mainstage rocket returning to Earth after a successful Starlink mission in November 2021 and landing in the Atlantic Ocean on the drone ship Just Read the Instructions. The curved trail of light in the sky is a long-time exposure of the rocket launch from Cape Canaveral. About nine minutes after the launch the first stage of the rocket returned to Earth and landed on the floating platform. The work combines two different time planes and movements in space: the launch movement of the rocket from the spaceport into orbit, and its return and landing. The surface of the rocket stage is partly covered in black soot which forms from the enormous amount of heat generated when the rocket re-enters the Earth’s atmosphere. A starry sky can be seen at the top of the picture and the viewer’s gaze is drawn over the water to the drone ship and over the rocket stage out into space. The reusability of rockets not only allows for broader access into space but also introduces the principle of sustainability and the efficient use of resources into the space travel industry. The booster that features in “down to earth” had already flown eight times before it first flew in May 2020 and brought the NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley to the International Space Station on the SpaceX Demonstration Mission-2. In the work “crew dragon” (2020) the same booster can be seen on its historic first flight.
06 December, 2021
Michael visits STARBASE
In late November 2021 Michael visited SpaceX´s STARBASE in Bocca Chica, Texas. This is the next generation rocket production facility, test site, and spaceport constructed by SpaceX. The launch site has been the main production and testing site of the Starship/Super Heavy system.
There is currently a lot of construction work going on on the launchpad as the first orbital flight of Starship SN20 from Starbase to Hawaii is scheduled for January 2022. Starship SN 20 was on the launch pad during Michael´s visit along with 2 Super Heavy boosters and the new mount and catch tower. The gigantic structure which Elon Musk nicknamed "Mechazilla", is now completed and stands about 145 m (440 ft) tall. The teams can now undergo the process of outfitting the tower with large actuator arms, hydraulic systems, fuel lines, and other components. The tower’s primary purpose is to assemble and to the catch in mid air. The returning booster and maybe even the Starship itself when returning from space. This sounds like pure Science Fiction and has never been tried before. Ultimately, though, SpaceX’s unprecedented Starship launch/catch tower will remain a mystery until it’s fully assembled and in active use. Starship is a fully reusable launch system in which consists of a first stage named Super Heavy and a second stage named Starship. Both stages are made from stainless steel and designed to hold liquid oxygen and liquid methane. Before launch, a specialized tower stacks Starship's stages and launch pad to mount the vehicle. Starship can send more than 100 metric tons (220,000 lb) to low Earth orbit; higher Earth and other orbits are accessible after being refueled by tanker Starships. Future Starship variants will be able to land on the Moon and Mars.
07 September, 2021
Exhibition at Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg
No other substance has shaped societies in the twentieth and early twenty-first centuries as much as petroleum. Airplanes, tanks, and spacecraft, motorways, shopping malls and suburban settlements, nylon stockings, mountains of plastic, and vinyl – key materials and technologies, lifestyles and visions of our time owe their existence to the energy density and transformability of oil. Now, however, the dusk of the “petrol age” is looming, whereby neither can its end be precisely dated, nor its consequences adequately assessed. The exhibition Oil. Beauty and Horror in the Petrol Age therefore takes a speculative, poetic look back at the presence of the modern age of petroleum, which has lasted for roughly one hundred years. From the distance of a hypothetical future, we ask what was typical of our time, what was great and beautiful, what was ugly and terrible, and how all this is reflected in art and culture.
Michael participates with his iconic artwork "orbital ascent" in the exhibition, which is curated by Andreas Beitin, Alexander Klose and Benjamin Steininger
The new publication "outer space v2" presents the latest artworks from Michael Najjar's internationally highly acclaimed "outer space" series. The book not only includes spectacular artworks from the years 2015 – 2021, but also extensive background information on the genesis of the artworks and brilliant essays written by novelists, art historians, and leading figures shaping humanity's future in space: Dietmar Dath, Michael Ostheimer, Elon Musk, Richard Branson, Hans Koenigsmann, Marco Fuchs, Stéphane Israël, Sethu Vijaykumar, Frank White, Ma Yansong, and Manfred Wittenstein.
Michael Najjar's "outer space" work series deals with the latest developments in space exploration and the way they will shape our future life on Earth, in Earth’s near orbit and on other planets. We are facing the transition from the current space exploration approach, towards an innovative concept of space industrialization. The beginning of the civilian space development, civilization expansion into outer space, industrialization of the geo-lunar space, developing civil passengers transportation and accommodation in space will have a strong impact on humanity´s future.
The cultural dimension represented by this transition process towards a larger human presence in space is very much at the center of Najjar's work. His ongoing “outer space” series started in 2011 and currently comprises over 60 photographic artworks and 5 video works. The artworks were on view in numerous museums, biennials, and galleries around the world in the past years.
"MICHAEL NAJJAR – outer space v2"
Design Michael Najjar
23,5 × 30 cm
284 pages, approx. 200 color images
€ 46 (D) / £ 42 / $ 60
Order: please send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org
12 July, 2021
Historic Spaceflight of VSS Unity
After many years of research, engineering and testing, Virgin Galactic sucessfully performed its first fully crewed spaceflight on Sunday, 11 July. VSS Unity, one of Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo vehicles, blasted off into space with 2 pilots and 4 crew members, including the company's founder Richard Branson. The historic "Unity 22" flight marked the beginning of a new era in civilian spaceflight.
After climbing to 50,000 feet or 15 kilometres above Earth, VSS Unity was dropped by the carrier air plane VSS Eve. It fired its rocket engine and accelerated to faster than three times the speed of sound in a climb to the edge of space. VSS Unity then performed a slow backflip in microgravity, when the Virgin Galactic crew was weightless and floated around the spacecraft cabin. The spacecraft reached an altitude of 86.1 kilometers (53.5 miles, or about 282,000 feet). The vehicle then returned through the atmosphere in a glide, to land back at the runway of Spaceport America where it took off from earlier.
In addition to Branson, the crew was made up of mission specialists Beth Moses, Virgin Galactic's chief astronaut instructor, Virgin Galactic lead operations engineer Colin Bennett, and Sirisha Bandla, the vice president of government affairs and research operations at the company. VSS Unity was piloted by Dave Mackay and Michael Masucci.
Michael joined the Virgin Galactic team in 2012 signing up for a spaceflight to become the first contemporary artist to travel in space. This decision also marked the beginning of his internationally highly acclaimed "outer space" series which now includes over 65 photographic and time based artworks. Almost 10 years later now, the first civilian spaceflight launched from the futuristic spaceport located in the desert of New Mexico. If all goes well, as one of Virgin Galactic's Pioneer Astronauts, Michael will embark on his own spaceflight in 2022.
22 June, 2021
"Overview Effect" exhibition at Museum for Contemporary Art, Belgrade
The Museum Of Contemporary Art Belgrade (MOCAB) proudly presents the exhibition OVERVIEW EFFECT. The term overview effect was coined by Frank White in the book with the same title in 1987 to describe the cognitive shift reported by a number of astronauts having looked back from space to their home planet. Do we need such a distant point of view on our “Spaceship Earth” - to use Buckminster Fuller’s metaphor - to realize that this “spaceship” is slowly running out of “fuel” and that the crew is in need for “oxygen”? Michael Najjar participates at the exhibition with 3 large scale artworks from his internationally acclained "outer space" series.
The exhibition seeks to explore the complexity of the ecological problematics and the inseparable links between them. The concept focuses on topics such as corporate imperialism, indigenous sovereignty, gender, different kinds of extractivisms and the importance of decolonising not just history but also our concept of nature in order to create a new mindset facing the challenges of a post anthropocentric world. Going beyond the binary relations of utopias and dystopias, the project may help visualize the multiplicity of possible scenarios, as art’s capacity to produce new knowledge, alternatives and experience of the world might envision that change of the paradigm. This change will only be possible through a posthuman point of view where transdisciplinarity, multispecies coexistence and post-anthropocentrism will lead the way for the new post fossil capitalism era.
BANK/Mabsociety Gallery Shanghai proudly presents Michael Najjar's first solo exhibition in Beijing. The exhibition is part of the official program of the Gallery Weekend Beijing 2021 and features several photographic and time based artworks from the artist's internationally acclaimed series "outer space". While celebrating some of the best art, artists and institutions that Beijing has to offer, this year also sees high class new participants from outside the capital, from places across China as well as from around the world – like Paris, London, and New York. Altogether, 37 commercial galleries, non-profit art spaces, and institutions will exhibit works at seven sites around the Chinese capital.
National Air and Space Museum aquires 3 artworks for permanent collection
The Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in Whasington D.C. has acquired 3 artworks from Michael Najjar´s highly acclaimed "outer space“ series for its permanent collection. The selected artworks are "liquid gravity" (2013), "orbital debris_2020" (2013) and "kinetic drift" (2014).
"Michael Najjar’s photographs from the "outer space" series are a superb acquisition bringing an innovative interpretation of the contemporary space traveler to the museums collection. His photographs offer an interplay of reality and conceptualization, conjuring futuristic spaceflight scenes reminiscent in science fiction and space art. More so, this photography gives authentic glimpses of the Russian cosmonaut training facilities at Star City as art, and Najjar himself in the roles of artist and astronaut/cosmonaut."
Carolyn Russo, Curator of Art, National Air and Space Museum
"liquid gravity" (2013)
The National Air and Space Museum's art collection comprises over 8,000 works of art on the subject of human flight. The museum was established in 1946 in Washington D. C. and opened its main building at the famous National Mall in 1976. It is a center for research into the history and science of aviation and spaceflight, as well as planetary science and terrestrial geology and geophysics. With more than 7 million visitors per year it is the most visited museum in the United States.
The museum's collection is best known for its unique collection of rare and historically significant aircraft and spacecraft such as the Apollo 11 Command Module Columbia,
the Friendship 7 capsule which was flown by John Glenn, Charles Lindbergh's Spirit of St. Louis, the Bell X-1 which broke the sound barrier, the model of the starship Enterprise from the Star Trek TV series and the Wright brothers' Wright Flyer airplane. The collection includes thousands of additional artifacts—including engines, rockets, uniforms, spacesuits, balloons, artwork, documents, manuscripts, and photographs—document the richness of the history of flight.
Michael's work will be on permanent display as soon as the renovation of the new art gallery is finished.
New publication "Space is the Place- Current Reflections on Art and Architecture"
The publication "Space is the Place - Current Reflections on Art and Architecture" looks at contemporary artistic practices that turn spaces into places. Space and place are explored as topics and mediums of playful investigation and serious reflection. Together with artists, designers, architects, curators, historians, theoreticians and philosophers,
it questions the experience, imagination and design of spaces and places in theory and practice. The colourful collection of projects, performances, interviews and essays explores these notions within contemporary art and culture in all its complex and diverging, contemporary exposures. The book is published on the occasion of the exhibition cycle Space is the Place curated by Lukas Feireiss at BNKR - current reflections on art and architecture, Munich between September 2018 and July 2019.
The book features several artworks by Michael Najjar along with an interview.
Contributors: Franz Xaver Baier, Julius von Bismarck, Nuotama Bodomo, Beatriz Colomina, Olafur Eliasson, Andrea Fraser, Jeewi Lee, Bruce Nauman, Michael Najjar,
Tom Sachs, Michael Sailstorfer and many more.
Lukas Feireiss works as a curator, writer and art director in the international mediation of contemporary cultural reflexivity beyond disciplinary boundaries.
with numerous black-white and colour illustrations, perfect bound softcover
Leipzig July, 2020
Width: 16.5 cm
Length: 24 cm
Editor: Lukas Feireiss
Designer: Floyd E. Schulze, WTHM – Büro für Gestaltung