Richard Clar «ALMA da AGUA: A Space Awareness Initiative» 2002.

Richard Clar, Alma
ALMA da AGUA, 2002
with Dinis Ribeiro.

The launch of a commemorative sounding rocket carrying a space art payload will herald the creation of the Portuguese Space Agency. While addressing the technical aspects we will articulate the ALMA da AGUA payload with ongoing projects from Companhia Espacial Portuguesa Lda, namely its instrumentation department and the AEPOR project. Water management issues in their variety illustrate well the complexity of effectively using space technology as a tool for development.
The importance of space art has not yet been fully realized by some of the people involved in space activities. It is usually seen as a secondary issue to be handled by the Public Relations departments of space agencies in such a way that the technical relevance of the payload is not jeopardized by overexposure of its 'debatable' artistic value.
The desire to have space art as a recognized basic component of space programs is a natural consequence of greater social involvement in these activities. Our effort seeks to excel on both the technical aspects as well as the artistic ones. One possible indicator of the degree of innovation present on space efforts might be the role that is reserved to space artists. The more classical approach had given them a very limited role, in charge of propaganda, logos, and press releases not venturing outside the public relations department of large governmental organizations. A more modern approach would tend to treat them as key intermediaries that help bridge the gap between highly specialized and brilliant technicians and the general public. The entertainment industry already allows much of this to take place, however space artists are seldom at the center of space projects, and they still remain seen almost as a secondary 'strap-on booster', that can be discarded with little impact on 'real' space projects. The trend towards a greater role of the private sector may induce a gradual 'change of paradigm' and by the end of the century that is about to begin, space artists may have a very different role.

Artistic components of Alma da Agua: To allow free expression of the particular points of view from each of the eight involved countries, they are invited to propose to CEP, the specific artistic events with which they may want to participate in this awareness initiative. In each country a local committee of three individuals will be established, to run the local selection process and assist the preparation of the events. Each country will select two songs and two live performances that must include at least one dance event to accompany the two international artistic events to be presented.

Richard Clar, Alma
Alma da Agua: Airfield
Richard Clar, Alma
Alma da Agua: Sounding Rocket Experiment

© Dinis Ribeiro and Richard Clar