Inner Telescope by Eduardo Kac

Inner Telescope was conceived by Chicago-based artist Eduardo Kac and realized on the International Space Station (ISS) in collaboration with French astronaut Thomas Pesquet.

Created to exist in space, this visionary artwork lays the foundation for a new form of art and poetry, freed from the constraints of gravity. It was produced by the Observatoire de l'Espace (Space Observatory), the cultural lab of the French Space Agency (CNES) with the support of the Daniel and Nina Carasso Foundation.

Eduardo Kac and Thomas Pesquet
Eduardo Kac and Thomas Pesquet with Inner Telescope

Eduardo Kac met Thomas Pesquet for the first time at the Paris Air Show in 2015, and they met again at the European Astronaut Training Center in Cologne where they jointly developed Inner Telescope. On November 17, 2016 Pesquet took off from the Baikonur Space Base, Kazakhstan, aboard the Proxima mission with fellow astronauts. On February 18, 2017 he realized the performance Inner Telescope on the ISS, as part of the European Space Agency’s desire to combine innovation, research, science, and technology with artistic creativity.

Inner Telescope inside Cupola on ISS
Inner Telescope inside the Cupola on the International
Space Station (ISS)

Made of materials available on the ISS, Inner Telescope is a performance created for one astronaut in which s/he only uses two sheets of paper and a pair of scissors to create a paper sculpture. Floating in zero gravity, the sculpture has neither top nor bottom, neither front nor back. Viewed from a certain angle, one may read the French word “MOI” [“me” or “myself”], standing for the collective self, and evoking humanity; from another angle, one may see a human figure with its umbilical cord cut, representing a liberation from the limits of gravity.

“M. O. I.” Me on Earth and Me in Space; Me from Space looking down at the Earth. Me, singular; Me, humanity. With Pesquet’s performance, the sculpture Kac conceived becomes a kind of observation telescope through which one can look into oneself and at the same time look at humanity.

Eduardo Kac exhibition at Arte Contemporanea Luciana Caravello gallery
Eduardo Kac exhibition at Arte Contemporanea Luciana
Caravello gallery

Inner Telescope is the subject of several publications and is shown in exhibitions:

Galerie Charlot – Paris (France) – June 8-July 27, 2017
Galerie de Arte Contemporanea, Luciana Caravello – Rio de Janeiro (Brazil) – July 20-August 19, 2017
Ars Electronica – Linz (Austria) – September 7-11, 2017
Bienalsur – Buenos Aires (Argentina) – November 1st-December 30, 2017
Galerie Charlot – Tel Aviv (Israel) – March 15-July 8, 2018
Les Abattoirs, FRAC Occitanie Toulouse – Toulouse (France) – April 5-October 10, 2018
Furtherfield – London (United Kingdom) – April 7-May 28, 2018
International Digital Art Biennial – Montreal (Canada) ¬¬– June 29-August 5, 2018
Sector 2337 – Chicago, Illinois (USA) – 7-30 September, 2018
DAM Gallery – Berlin (Germany) – November 10, 2018-January 19, 2019

Inner Telescope was featured in an article published in The New York Times, March 23, 2017

Inner Telescope, a Space Artwork by Eduardo Kac, a film by Virgile Novarina

The film Inner Telescope, a Space Artwork by Eduardo Kac documents Eduardo Kac’s creative process and Thomas Pesquet’s artistic performance. With a duration of 35 minutes, the film follows the artist’s and astronaut’s journey on Earth and in space. Every viewer is invited to discover every step of this singular adventure.

Because the conditions of the making of Inner Telescope are very particular, the documentary is an essential part of the performance, and is therefore fully part of the work. The film directed by Virgile Novarina takes us on an artistic and scientific journey from the conception of the work in Kac's studio in Chicago to its realization in space by Pesquet, 400 km away from Earth. Present in the artist’s studio during his reflections and on his travels, Novarina retraces the moments that define Kac’s work between his encounters with other people, the constraints he faced, like a diary of the making of Inner Telescope. The viewer also has the opportunity to witness the first meetings between Kac and Pesquet, as well as the astronaut’s takeoff aboard the Proxima mission.

Virgile filming Eduardo and Thomas
Virgile filming Eduardo and Thomas

The documentary images are edited with shots taken on Earth and aboard the ISS, with interviews of the artist and performer, and with analyzes on the work by Gérard Azoulay, head of the Observatoire de l’Espace, and Hugues Marchal, professor of Modern Literature. A testimony to scientific and artistic collaboration, Novarina’s documentary was born from the director’s intention to look at Kac’s work from his own artist’s point of view.

Watch the trailer and an excerpt

Inner Telescope, a Space Artwork by Eduard Kac is screened in a number of festivals:

Festival Sidération – Paris (France) – March 24-26, 2017
SCAM – Paris (France) – June 7, 2017
FILAF – Perpignan (France) – June 22, 2017
Pembroke Taparelli Arts and Film Festival – Los Angeles, California (USA) – November 1st-4, 2017
Plebeian Film Festival – San Diego, California (USA) – November 3-5, 2017
Raw Science Film Festival – Santa Barbara, California (USA) – January 5-7, 2018
Journées internationales du film sur l'art – Paris (France) – January 19-28, 2018
Observatoire de Versailles Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines – Guyancourt (France) – March 16, 2018
Scène Nationale 61 – Alençon (France) – March 29 and 30, 2018
Meters International Film Festival – Naples, New York (USA) – April 14, 2018
Worldfest Houston International Film Festival – Houston, Texas (USA) – April 21-30, 2018. Bronze Remi Award for "Documentary Under 60 minutes"
Médiathèque d’Aurillac – Aurillac (France) – May 17, 2018
Les Abattoirs, FRAC Occitanie Toulouse – Toulouse (France) – June 7, 2018
ReelHeART International Festival – Toronto (Canada) – July 4, 2018
Canal de Panama International Film Festival – Panama (Panama) – August 16-19, 2018
Montana International Film Festival – Billings, Montana (USA) – September 14-16, 2018
Marché International du Film sur les Artistes Contemporains (MIFAC) – Le Mans (France) – September 14-16, 2018
Electronic Literature Lab – Vancouver (Canada) – October 3, 2018
Cinque Terre Film Festival – Cinque Terre (Italy) – October 19-21, 2018
Festival Internacional de Cine de Autor – Guadalajara (Mexico) – Novemer 13-17, 2018
Festival du film documentaire 50/1
– Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines (France)
November 28-December 2, 2018.


By the same director :
Around Sleep (12', 2005)
Jean Olivier Hucleux, form the Work to the Artwork (60', a.p.r.e.s production, 2011)
Deep into Sleep (39', a.p.r.e.s Production, 2016)
Tangible Striptease (in nanosequences) (29', Mise à jour production et Dorsa Barlow, 2017)
Inner Telescope, a Space Artwork by Eduardo Kac (35', Observatoire de l'Espace, 2017)

Inner Telescope DVD

Inner Telescope, a Space Artwork by Eduardo Kac
Year: 2017
Duration: 35’
Format: HDV
Image format: 16/9
Directed by Virgile Novarina
Production: Observatoire de l’Espace du CNES
Available in DVD at a.p.r.e.s. éditions

With Eduardo Kac, Thomas Pesquet, Gérard Azoulay, Hugues Marchal and Thierry Duquesne. Directed by Virgile Novarina. A production of the Observatoire de l’Espace, the cultural lab of the French Space Agency (CNES), with the assistance of ESA and the support of the Daniel and Nina Carasso Foundation.


Inner Telescope