This looks like a fantastic book that will look great next to my Norman Mailer: MoonFire: The Epic Journey of Apollo 11 (GO)

Spacesuit: Fashioning Apollo

In Spacesuit, Nicholas de Monchaux tells the story of the twenty-one-layer spacesuit in twenty-one chapters addressing twenty-one topics relevant to the suit, the body, and the technology of the twentieth century. He touches, among other things, on eighteenth-century androids, Christian Dior’s New Look, Atlas missiles, cybernetics and cyborgs, latex, JFK’s carefully cultivated image, the CBS lunar broadcast soundstage, NASA’s Mission Control, and the applications of Apollo-style engineering to city planning. The twenty-one-layer spacesuit, de Monchaux argues, offers an object lesson. It tells us about redundancy and interdependence and about the distinctions between natural and man-made complexity; it teaches us to know the virtues of adaptation and to see the future as a set of possibilities rather than a scripted scenario.

Continue reading Spacesuit.

Volume Issue on the Moon

Tuesday October 26 15:22

Tuesday October 26 15:22

Tuesday October 26 15:23

Just a short note to draw your attention to this cool quarterly journal called Volume which you may already know about but which I only heard about when they asked if I would contribute a short piece on Design Fiction. Basically it is a condensation of the longer essay from last winter which is presently offline due to some Internet wrangling and movements which won’t be sorted until later when the shipping crate gets back from the data networks.

The issue is focussed on the Moon which is a wonderful topic. Included are a photo essay on a lost astronaut and an insert product catalog of fictional/speculative objects, magazines, gifts and other items that might be appreciated by people who live on the moon.

In either case, this quarterly is quite intriguing and somewhat reminiscent in my mind to Cabinet (although quite a bit more expensive). It seems to consist mostly of excerpts and extractions of existing material, which is fine of course.

Design Fiction Chronicles: Duncan Jones' "Moon"

Moon Production Design

A short mention of this wonderful film “Moon”, which is presently in the theaters here and there. I quite enjoyed the production design — Tom Carden pointed me to the site of the designer who created the fictional environment, giving the film a particularly lonely and somewhat constrained feeling to it, a fellow called Gavin Rothery. It seems he worked on quite a bit of the production design and visual effects, which is quite impressive.

Most of what I learned about the film and its production was found on Rothery’s site as well as a radio interview with Duncan Jones (David Bowie’s son!), the film’s director on the NPR show “Science Friday.”.

An intriguing premise of the film, set on the Moon in a vague near future, is this design fiction in which helium 3 is mined from the far side of the moon and then sent back to earth at regular intervals. The material is mined in a semi-autonomous fashion, with one guy — a sort of blue collar near future industrial worker — minding the shop, together with this robot/ship computer with an articulated arm, Kevin Spacey’s voice, and a smiley face icon for a emotive display, which is intriguing. This is only the second example of a computer voice in a science-fiction film that is a man I can think of besides HAL. But, I could be wrong. Most of them seem to be women — more on this at a later post. But it won’t be a rant.)
Continue reading Design Fiction Chronicles: Duncan Jones' "Moon"