Space on Earth Station

Office of Experiments was conceived during the project Space on Earth Station. Developed with N55,  a collective of architects and artists based in Copenhagen, the aim was to create a system for experimenting on earth with ideas of conservation, ecology and urban living, whilst minimising the overall impact of human activity. The office of experiments was both a test laboratory and temporary office space both within Arts Catalyst, the commissioning body, and then the space station itself.

The context for this project was President Bush aim to spend billions of dollars on a mission to Mars, highlighted by the image in the background taken from a Mars Rover. In what we understood to be as a signal that the earth was doomed, we worked together to create an alternative vision for the future. A form of ethical experimentation, as Isabelle Stengers would put it.

The project took two years to conceive and build, and was installed for 6 days. It has only been shown once to date.

Supported by the Arts Catalyst and Camden Roundhouse.

Experiments and key concepts

The key concept behind the structure was that of Peter Pearce vision for a ‘min a max’ system of building. N55, led by Ion Sørvin and Ingvil Aarbakke,  reconfigured Pearce’s proposed forms as a plate structure that could be used to make ‘micro-dwellings’. Working together, the structure of the space on earth station was conceived as a platform using this form but built from different materials in different countries. The modules were built in Copenhagen and London, to fit onto standard EU pallet sizes to minimise cost and weight. The modules were assembled in situ on site in Camden in September 2016.

On site experiments

Following a call for experiments on the Space Station, a group of artists were selected to work with us on site. Marcus Ahlers created Solar Ovens for cooking, Kayle Brandon created her own skip module, whilst gathering food from wild local sources, and Alex Lockett built a sustainable garden on top of the station itself. Further experiments included bird house modules made from estate agent signs, a bee-hive module, wifi-hive networks, hacked bicycles, water cooler bottles repurposed as washing machines.

The project was an amazing journey, and is dedicated to the memory of the briliiant and inspiring Ingvil Aarrbakke of N55.