Space Refugee is a multi-media installation based on Muhammed Ahmed Faris, the first Syrian cosmonaut to travel to the Mir space station in 1987. The project follows Faris’ journey from popular hero, to supporter of the opposition movement against Assad, to his current life as a refugee in Turkey. Presented in the manner of an old fashioned space museum, this installation combines faux commemorative artefacts and a virtual reality work designed by the artist with elements from the British Interplanetary Society’s own collection.
At the core of the installation is a video in which Faris relates the difficulties of the journey out of Syria, then speaks with fellow refugees about the possibility of returning to their homeland. If that proves impossible, he says, “I hope we can rebuild cities for them in space, where there is freedom and dignity and where there is no tyranny, no injustice.” The video goes on to include interviews with NASA scientists, air and space law specialists, and architects discussing the plausibility of a refugee colony in space.
Halil Altındere (b. 1971, Turkey) has a wide-ranging practice that includes video, sculpture, photography, installation, performance, curating and publishing. He often employs an ironic approach to challenge political, cultural and social systems. In his early works he reversed conceptions of nation-state and authority in Turkey by utilising everyday objects such as identity cards, banknotes, and stamps. His current practice focuses on issues of subcultures, migration, identity, gender and marginalisation.
A project supported by SAHA – Supporting Contemporary Art from Turkey.
Further thanks to Sharjah Art Foundation, HTC Vive and MSI for their support.
The British Interplanetary Society is the oldest space advocacy organisation in the world. Founded in 1933 by a group of space flight enthusiasts who dreamed of using rocket propulsion to explore outer space, today the BIS is devoted to promoting and disseminating new space flight and astronautics information through meetings, symposia, publications and exhibitions. Please note: this venue has limited capacity; entry will be on a first come, first served basis.