• 2 Exp52/53 Nespoli Ryazansky Bresnik Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan 2017
  • 3 Exp52/53 Nespoli Ryazansky Bresnik Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan 2017
  • 1 Exp52/53 Nespoli Ryazansky Bresnik Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan 2017
  • 5 Exp52/53 Nespoli Ryazansky Bresnik Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan 2017
  • 4 Sarah Jane Pell Soyuz MS-05 Baikonur Launch site 1, Kazakhstan 2017
  • 6 Exp52/53 Nespoli Ryazansky Bresnik Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan 2017

Australia Council Fellow, Emerging & Experimental Arts, 2016 - 2018

Performing Astronautics:

Following the Body's Natural Edge into the Abyss of Space

The Performing Astronautics project foci on experimental performance exploration outcomes aims to amplify the bodily phases of astronaut training and undersea missions as basis for extreme movement. The project therefore requires dedication to a mission mindset, training, research, expression, outreach and advocasy. Since this is key to becoming an Artist Astronaut, my artistic interest in such pursuits is spiritual, visceral, poetic, and technical. The creative research occurs in simultaneous phases: 1) instrumental/speculative and 2) performative exploration. By participating in space analogue training and mission scenario simulations, designing prototype performance systems, and producing speculative fiction short films, I am proposing, reporting and producing a new work on performing astronautics. Radical ideas, compelling performances, speculative fiction, and documentation of extreme art experiences and even technical, legal and ethical recommentations result through creative research, training, conversation and collaboration with choreographers, engineers, scientists, designers, explorers and misfits. I present the work to artistic and aerospace audiences. The following highlights some key discoveries and milestones in my quest. Scroll down for a complete list of fellowship activities from mission simulation to provocation, and including creative, scholarly, and technical publications.

Instrumental/speculative prototype performance systems

The Agency of Human-Robotic Lunatics, 2017

QUT Creative Industries, Keynote Performance: Robotronica

A commissioned collaboration between Sarah Jane Pell, Jaymis Loveday and Charles Henden, The Agency of Human-Robotic Lunatics investigated several key questions in creative development regarding the interactions with extreme performance content, and the staging of works for live audiences. Through the use of a recently developed autonomous subject tracking robotic camera system, the Cinema Swarm, we see Pell's live performance blend with VR mapping of historical lunar imaging data, and augmented reality artefacts from a real spacewalk simulation on earth called Project Moonwalk. The resultant work achieved three things: firstly, the live media performance expanded the traditional keynote presentation format and typical realities. Secondly, it created a conceptual and technical loop of interaction between the layers of form and content, and thus mirrored operational and practical performance-research complexities. Finally, the gestural controlled avatar - whilst emcumbered by the gravity-locked performer - facilitated enough immersion for the performer/speaker to enter into the site, and embody the essence of performing astronautics live before an audience.

Spacecraft Egress, Sea Survival, Rescue Operations, 2017

Integrated Spaceflight Services (BIO 102), Survival Systems USA (ASET2)

The first professional education course on the landing and post-landing phase of crewed spacecraft missions. The focus of this course is on the system engineering associated with the landing and post-landing phase of manned space missions. We dive into mission contingency analyses to understand and appreciate the variety of post-landing environments that might exist, the types of post-landing failures that can drive an emergency egress, and the evolution of egress procedures. It is immersive and practical with donning, dunking, ditching, bracing and waving. A Core Module of the Project PoSSUM Curriculum delivered by Dr. Jason Reimuller (following AST 101: Advanced PoSSUM Academy) and in support of Final Frontier Design bioastronautics research.

Subtle and personal discovery also resulted. The artist asks new questions of the body in space. By investigating my relationship to the act of 'Performing Astronautics', my practice becomes a lens on exploration activities in extreme environments. Countermeasures and hardware development should be informed from such a unique human factors perspective or user-design experience and this is essential to critique, and design for our future visions for space. I have vested interest in visualising and realising pathways for a creative life in space because I want to go. Here on the ground, and with the embodied knowledge of the underwater performance artist, the Artist Astronaut offers a unique perspective to art-making, and in applying human-centered architecture and movement expertise to the design, development, test, and trade analysis of spacesuits, spacecraft, habitats, tools and technlogies of all kinds and including the deeper-level psycho-social, poetic and political challenges for artists in space exploration missions.

Space is hard and time-lines are long. Through strategic risk-taking and experimentation, outcomes of this project will help visualize tasks that must be performed in constrained spaces, under high-risk operational conditions, often alone and yet highly monitored and scritinised, developing innovative approaches to creating spaces that enable artists to undertake these tasks, and provide trade spaces for design engineers to use to optimize habitable and creative performance environments for artists to amplify their own pratice and contributions too. I am therefore extremely grateful for the support of the Australia Council Fellowship in Emerging and Experimental Arts and the privledge of dedicated time to develop confidence and competence, by accepting invitations, taking advantage of openings and seizing opportunities for dreaming new dreams, waking up and making them happen.

Creative Publications

1. Art in Outer Space

[1.2] Pell, S.J., Barnes, D. (2018) SPECTRA [Spatial Performance Environment Command Transmission Realities for Astronauts] TRL6 Moon-Earth-Moon Performance Art Transmission. Successful transmission of a 64 Billion Pixel LiDAR-1 Art Tableaux of the Lunares MoonMars Station in Poland to the Monash Immersive Visualisation Platform, AU CAVE2. Choreography by Richard Move in CAVE2 captured in Virtual Reality, transmitted back to the Airlock, and the Astronaut learns an in-situ VR dance to then perform on a spacewalk EVA.
[1.1] Pell, S.J. (2018) SISTER MOON. A a global participatory cosmic art project. Curator Martine-Nicole Rojina creates vocal compositions by using radio signals to send artist messages to the Moon. They echo back in 2.5sec to the Dwingeloo Radio Telescope (Jan van Muijlwijk) producing sound art installations with CAMRAS (Harry Keizer).

2. Major International exhibitions, performances

[2.3] Pell, S.J., Barnes D.G., Daniel Waghorn (2018) Lunar Parliament (Mixed reality performance) 15:00, Kosmica Parliament Curator Miha Turšič, 2018 Ars Electronica Festival, Linz AS. 6-9 Sep.
[2.2] Pell, S.J., Barnes D.G. (2018) MDRS 188 Rock Stars (VR) 8:10. Life at the Edges, Curator Ainsle Murray, Science Gallery Dublin, UK. 6 Jun - 22 Sep.
[2.1] Webster, K., Innocent, T., Pell, S.J., Mohne, A., Kopp, U. (2017) How on Earth can we live together? Curator Annie Ivanova. Art Taipei, Taipei World Trade Center, TW 19-23 Oct.

3. Major Australian exhibitions, performances, events

[3.3] Pell, S.J., Barnes, D.G., Move, R., & Waghorn, D. (2018) Stellar Corpus, Live interactive performance in the New Horizons CAVE2, Monash Immersive Visualisation Platform 13 Oct.
[3.2] Pell, S.J. (2017) ’How to Survive...on the Moon’, Solo Keynote Performance 25:00, Presented by The Melbourne International Arts Festival, The Arts House, North Melbourne AU. 8 Oct.
[3.1] Pell, S.J., Loveday, J., Henden, C.(2017) The Agency of Human-Robotic Lunatics , Keynote Performance 25:00, Commissioned by QUT Robotonica, Brisbane AU. 20 Aug.

4. Major Film screenings, media installations

[4.3] Rock Stars (incorporating Bubbles on Mars) (2019) 03:33 The Adelaide Festival Centre, Moving Image Program Curator Sebastian Calabretto. Adelaide AU 1-31 Dec.
[4.2] We are all Explorer Fish (2019) IVAFM’19 International Video Art Festival Madrid, Kosmica Films, Curator Nahum, Madrid ES. 24-27 May 2019.
[4.1] Mars Olympiad (2018) VR 7:11, 360 Dome 11:36 World Premiere: Cineglobe Festival, CERN Mars Dome Curators: Neal Hartman, Angelo Vermuelen, CERN, CH. 29 Jun - 6 Jul.

Scholarly Publications

5. Journal Articles

[5.2] Pell, S.J. (2017) Performing Astronautics: following the body’s natural edge to the Abyss of Space’ Virtual Creativity, 7(1), pp. 53-61(9) Intellect Publishing
[5.1] Pell, S.J. (2017) Following the body’s natural edge to the Abyss of Space, Critical Dialogues, Issue 8, 2. Environmental Impact, 21 Aug 2017, Critical Path, 47-56.

6. Peer Reviewed Conference Proceedings (Select)

[6.6] Pell, S.J., Barnes, D.G. (2019) Apollo and the Muses: cultural and technical inspirational knowledge embedded in lunar space arts. 70th International Astronautical Congress (IAC), Washington D.C., US, 21-26 Oct 2019.
[6.5] Pell, S.J., Kobrick, R., Barnes, D.G. (2019) Human Spaceflight Performance: bootstrapping the intersection of biometrics and artistic expression through planetary mission analogue EVAs. 70th International Astronautical Congress (IAC), Washington D.C., US, 21-26 Oct 2019.
[6.4] Pell, S.J., Barnes, D.G. (2018) The Agency of Human-Robotic Lunatics. 69th International Astronautical Congress (IAC), Bremen, DE, 1-6 Oct 2018.
[6.3] Pell, S.J., Barnes, D.G., Mueller, F. (2018) Bubbles on Mars: 360 Play and Performance on EVA. 69th International Astronautical Congress (IAC), Bremen, DE, 1-6 Oct 2018.
[6.2] Pell, S.J., Trolley, Z., Kobrick, R. (2018) Technical recommendations to improve Mars Desert Research Station safety, simulation and science. 69th International Astronautical Congress, Bremen DE 1-5 Oct, 2018. IAC-18,E5,1.1
[6.1] Pell, S.J. (2017) Launching an artist-astronaut mission and bending horizons in astronautics. 68th International Astronautical Congress, Adelaide AU IAC-17,E1,9,x36360

7. Technical White Papers

[7.1] Special Edition: SPACE: Exploration Innovation Brought Down to Earth (2017) Contributors: Michael Nelson, Olga Bochkareva, Cady Coleman, Carissa Christensen, Pam Melroy, Brian Talbot, Sony Mordechai, Stephen Dunne, Chris Blackerby, Richard Satava, Eric Stallmer, Michael Paolucci, Michael Roberts, Sarah Jane Pell, Bill Welser. Sparks & Honey, New York NY.

8. Conference Keynotes

[8.8] Pell, S.J. (2018) Smart Arts in Space, Southstart 2018, Adelaide Town Hall, 22-23 Nov.
[8.7] Pell, S.J. (2018) The Artist, Astronaut, and Avatar in Space Exploration. 2018 ACM Symposium on Computer-Human Interaction in Play (CHI PLAY ’18), Melbourne AU. 30 Oct.
[8.6] Pell, S.J. (2018) Spatial Performance Environment Command Transmission Realities for Astronauts (SPECTRA) 13th eResearch Australasia Conference, Melbourne AU. 17 Oct.
[8.5] Pell, S.J. (2017) The Agency of Human Robotic Lunatics, Robotronica Keynote, AU, QUT Gardens Point, AU. 20 Aug.
[8.4] Pell, S.J. (2017) Chroma Keynote Creative State Summit, Victorian Arts Centre, Melbourne AU 29-30 Jun.
[8.3] Pell, S.J. (2017) Humanity 2.0 Upgraded, Glimpses 2017, Red Bull High Performance Team, Malibu, US. 10 Jun.
[8.2] Pell, S.J. (2016) Star Sailors (Marinero Estelar) Kosmica: International festival for earth-bound space art design, Cosmovitral, Tolouca, MX. 4-15 Oct.
[8.1] Pell, S.J. (2016) Hyperbody: new space for new relations Inspirational Keynote, Sarah Jane Pell & Gillian Ferrabee Heroes: Coinnovation Festival Maratea, IT. 21-23 Sep.

9. Curated Panels

[9.9] Barqué-Duran, A., Pell, S.J., Dublon, G., Vieyro, F.L., Faivovich, G., Goldberg, N., Celeste, A. (2019) Forum de Arte y Espacio, BIENALSUR, C3 Beunos Aires, AR. 13-14 Aug.
[9.8] Foing, B., Pell, S.J., Turšič, M., Gracie, A., et al. (2019) Space Art, Science and Culture: Of Some Visions in/for the 21st Century, Leonardo/Olats Workshop Paris, FR. 23-24 Mar.
[9.7] Henriques, I., Thompson, N., O'Reilly, Z., Pell S.J. (2018) Technostitches: Robots/Communications Quite Frankly: it’s a Monster Conference, UWA, Crawley AU. 19 Oct.
[9.6] Pell, S.J. Austin, S., Mitchell, N. (2018) Bodies in Space SPECTRA: Art and Science, Mercury Cinema with Australian Network for Art and Technology, AU. 12 Oct 2018
[9.5] Ishii, H., Welch, C., Hörtner, H., Dahlstrom, E., Nahum, Turšič, M., Liu, X., Tanaka, Y., Pell S.J. (2018) Space Art – Trial and Error in Art & Science Ars Electroncia, Linz AS. 9 Sep.
[9.4] Harger, H., de Monchaux, N., Stott, N., Sachs, T., Pell S.J., (2018) Beyond the Cradle: Envisioning a New Space Age, MIT Media Lab, Boston US. 10 Mar.
[9.3] Ishii, H., Ou, J., Sauter, J., Sommerer, C., Yamanaka, S., Pell, S.J., Leithinger, D., Ochai Y. (2017) Art Science: From Vision to Practice Ars Electroncia, Linz AS. 10 Sep.
[9.2] Boehme, J., Pell, S.J., Williams, M., Price, S., Baby Guerilla (2017) Dangerous Ideas Panel Creative State Summit, Victorian Arts Centre, Melbourne AU 29-30 Jun.
[9.1] Palmisano, C., De Wit, J., Montanari, C., Pell, S.J., Parrotto, G., Postiglione, A., De Nadai, P. (2016) H Factor Keynote Panel, Heroes: Coinnovation Festival Maratea, IT. 21-23 Sep.

10. Prepared Lectures/Invited Speaker

[10.10] Pell, S.J. (2018) Immersive Art: Performing Astronautics Virtual, Immersive Art, Gaming & Filmmaking Session #17, Real World VR, Melbourne AU Loop Project Space & Bar, 28 Nov.
[10.9] Pell, S.J. (2017) From Sea, to Summit, to Space, LMCLP Graduation Address, Loddon Murray Community Leadership Program, Bendigo AU. 17 Nov.
[10.8] Pell, S.J. (2017) Immerse 2017: Mixed & Virtual Reality, Create Noosa, Peregian Springs AU. 11 Nov.
[10.7] Pell, S.J. (2017) Boomerang Luncheon, Australian Office Taipei [Embassy Keynote], Taipei TW ROC. 20 Oct.
[10.6] Pell, S.J. (2017) Art Salon Keynote: Art Taipei, Taipei World Trade Center Hall One, Taipei TW, 19-23 Oct.
[10.5] Pell, S.J. (2017) A Gender Diverse Space Workforce WIA Women in Aerospace - Europe, 68th International Astronautical Congress Keynote Breakfast, Adelaide AU. 25 Sep.
[10.4] Pell, S.J. (2017) Art to Space / Space to Art Space Association of Australia, SAA TV 2017, Caulfield, AU. 28 Aug.
[10.3] Pell, S.J. (2017) 2017 Creative Industries Faculty Seminar, QUT, Kelvin Grove, AU. 25 Jul.
[10.2] Pell, S.J. (2016) Gifted Citizen, Int. Festival of Brilliant Minds, la Ciudad de las Ideas, Puebla MX. 16-19 Nov.
[10.1] Pell, S.J. (2016) TodaysArt 2016, Art Astrospace MoonMars, International Festival Beyond Art, The Hague NL. 22-25 Sep.


I would like to thank Jeremy Smith; Andrew Donovan; Jonathan Parsons, Artistic Director of Robotronica; Vicki Sowry, Director of ANAT; Annalie Killian, Sparks & Honey; Annick Bureaud, Curator of Leonardo Olats; Bernard Foing, European Space Agency; Astronaut Frank de Winne, Head of the European Astronaut Centre; Paolo Nespoli, Italian Astronaut; David G. Barnes, Director of the Monash Immersive Visualisation Platform;

Australia Council Logo

This research is part of the Performing Astronautics project assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body.

Limited Edition Artist-Astronaut Patches

The Agency of Human-Robotic Lunatics, 2017
Sarah Jane Pell with Cinema Swarm Robotronica 2017

The Agency of Human-Robotic Lunatics, QUT AU 2017
Robotronica Human-Robotic Keynote Performance with Cinema Swarm & Visitor.Vision.

More information

Sarah Jane Pell solo show Arts House Melbourne 2017

How to Survive...on the Moon, Melbourne 2017
Melbourne International Arts Festival Solo Keynote Performance at Arts House Melbourne.

More information

HUET ASET2 Sarah Jane Pell Survival Systems USA 2017

Survival Systems USA, Groton US 2017
Aviation Survival & Egress Training EBD (ASET2), Spaceflight Egress and Sea Survival Apr 2017.

More information

Exp 52 Launch Baikanor Cosmodrome 2017

Exp 52 ISS launch, Baikonur KZ 2017
Soyuz MS-05 rocket launches Expedition 52/53 Crew to ISS from Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan 2017.

More information

MDRS188 MIVP Artist-in-Residence Pell CAVE2

Bending Horizons 360, 2018-2019
Monash Immersive Visualisation Platform MIVP Artist-in-Residence. Affective performance embodiment.

More information

MDRS Crew 188 Promo

MDRS 188, Hanksville US 2018
Mars Desert Research Station, Crew 188 (ISU), Hanksville Utah, US 2018.

More information

Rock Stars 2018 Pell & Barnes

Rock Stars, Utah US 2018
A live art cinematic virtual reality performance construction of a 100m square rock installation.

More information

Mars Olympiad MDRS188 Pell, Barnes 2018

Mars Olympiad, Utah US 2018
A space analogue competive live performance to virtual reality on Mars Desert Research Station.

More information

LunAres Spectra Crew Promo

LunAres III, Pila PL 2018
LunAres Moon/Mars Research Station, 3rd Lunar Analogue Crew (SPECTRA), Pila PL 2018.

More information

SPECTRA, Moon-Earth-Moon LunAres MIVP Pell, Barnes, Move 2018

SPECTRA, Moon-Earth-Moon 2018
SPECTRA [Spatial Performance Environment Command Transmission Realities for Astronauts].

More information

Moonhenge 2018 Lunares

Moonhenge, PL 2018
Site-specific installation: LunAres Moon/Mars Analogue Station, Pila PL 14 - 29 July 2018.

More information

Pell Ars Electronica 2018 Lunar Parliament

Lunar Parliament, Linz AS 2018
An mixed-presence performance for Ars Electronica Festival Kosmica Parliament Space Art Error.

More information

Stellar Corpus, Pell, Barnes, Move & Waghorn 2018

Stellar Corpus, Clayton AU 2018
A cosmic mixed-presence performance at the Monash Immersive Visualisation Platform live CAVE2.

More information

Adelaide Festival Centre

Adelaide Festival Centre, AU 2019
Screening Artists: Video Art + Digital Media Programme 1-31 Dec 2019. Curator Sebastian Calabretto.

More information