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Kittyhawk takes flight

Technologies of Romance

… a symposium of ideas, performances, videos and artworks on the theme of ‘Technologies of Romance’

28 September 2018

Science Museum

“The MA students responded, by contrast, to the broader imaginary realms to which the Science Museum Group collections might take one, giving us a performance of imagined flight, exploring the Moon through photographs, film footage, quotes and personal narrative, projected into the symposium space and performed by members standing around the room. John F Kennedy’s voice spoke alongside astronauts Yuri Glazkov, Pham Tuan and Mohammad Ahmad Faris. We contemplated a piece of Moon rock (on display in the Science Museum Space gallery) alongside images of the Earth from space. The students spoke of Icarus, Selenites, lunatics, Shakespeare and Cleopatra, contrasting the Moon as muse and inspiration, to its increasing reality as a junkyard for space technology. They showed us how technology has taken us to the Moon, and brought the Moon to us, firing our imagination with the romance of space travel. But what impact have our technologies wrought on the Moon itself” 


In November 2018 Becky Lyon, Hannah Pratt, Catherine Herbert and Phil Barton performed a sound and video piece at a Science Museum Symposium initiated by Paul O’Kane as part of a collaboration between Central Saint Martins and the Science Museum.  We explored the Flight and Exploring Space galleries of the Museum, reflecting on the huge romantic resonance of both human activities from from da Vinci’s flying machines of the late 1400s to the blanket bombing of Vietnam in the 1960s and from the Wright Brothers to “the Eagle has landed’.  We asked ourselves why humanity has not been back to the Moon for fifty years and what the exploitative interest might be for tech billionaires scrambling to return?

Dressed in black, perambulating around the perimeter of the darkened room, our four voices shared text, poetry, voice recordings, video images and our own writing as we reflected on the romance and the reality, the profit and loss and on the changing romance of the Moon and the technologies which got us there and are now threatening our very existence.


View a special edition of the Science Museum Group Journal dedicated to Technologies of Romance, with an introduction by Laura Humphreys & Katy Barrett.

View the full symposium programme


Becky, Phil, Hannah and Catherine in an early read through of the script in CSM Library.