A Space Odyssey: Making Art Up There

If you’re an astronaut aboard the International Space Station, you spend much of your time running science experiments. Among the jobs for Thomas Pesquet, a 39-year-old Frenchman currently there on a six-month stint: using virtual reality to gauge the effects of zero gravity on his hand-eye coordination, trying out a suit designed to keep weightlessness from stretching out his spine, analyzing the microbes in his water and directing a robot in the Netherlands from about 240 miles up. In his spare time, he posts photos on Twitter and Instagram of what’s passing beneath him: Mount Etna erupting, the artificial islands of Dubai, the Australian Outback, the entire country of Denmark.

Last month, however, there was a more unusual item on Mr. Pesquet’s agenda. Working with the earthbound artist Eduardo Kac, he created an artwork in space. It was a simple piece: nothing more than could be done with two sheets of paper and a pair of scissors. “Since the goal was to be born in space, it had to be created with materials that were already in the space station,” Mr. Kac (pronounced katz) explained in a telephone interview from his home in suburban Oak Park, Ill. Transporting art materials by rocket ship was not in the plan.

learn more

Chris Alexakisart