Art in Space Sparks Discussion on Technology, AI

  • Eduardo Kac's "Inner Telescope" took 10 years to design and conceive. It's currently aboard a space station, in the fifth month of a six month mission. (Courtesy of Eduardo Kac)

    Eduardo Kac's "Inner Telescope" took 10 years to design and conceive. It's currently aboard a space station, in the fifth month of a six month mission. (Courtesy of Eduardo Kac)

  • Astronaut Thomas Pesquet worked with artist Eduardo Kac to create "Inner Telescope." While Kac designed and conceived the work, Pesquet put the piece together with materials that were already available at the space station. (Courtesy of Eduardo Kac)

    Astronaut Thomas Pesquet worked with artist Eduardo Kac to create "Inner Telescope." While Kac designed and conceived the work, Pesquet put the piece together with materials that were already available at the space station. (Courtesy of Eduardo Kac)

A piece of art 10 years in the making is getting an out-of-this-world debut aboard the International Space Station.

Throughout the past decade Eduardo Kac has spent time designing and conceiving the piece “Inner Telescope” in a zero gravity chamber.

In February, French astronaut Thomas Pesquet made the “Inner Telescope” with materials available aboard the International Space Station.

“Inner Telescope is an instrument of observation and poetic reflection, which leads us to rethink our relationship with the world and our position in the universe,” Kac says on his website.

An art professor at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Kac is no stranger to using technology in his artwork.

“I’ve been working with technology as my art medium for approximately 40 years,” he said. “The kind of art I want to make can only be made through technology.”

On Thursday, a panel of artists, philosophers, scientists, engineers and theologians will discuss how their respective industries have used technology, and its moral implications and common misperceptions. 

Kac, who is scheduled to speak at the event, said it’s important to have representatives from a variety of fields join the discussion.

“No technology is the property of a particular or single discipline,” Kac said. “It may be developed by a particular field, but it belongs to everyone.”

The hourlong discussion, called “Are We Really Going to Live Forever? The Promises and Perils of Artificial Intelligence, ” is free and open to the public. It will focus on guidelines and uses of technology rather than technology itself, according to a statement from SAIC.

Though technology is constantly changing, its use is constantly increasing. (Courtesy of Pew Research Center)Though technology is constantly changing, its use is constantly increasing. (Courtesy of Pew Research Center)

Kac said the opportunity to discuss the effects of technology across multiple disciplines helps clarify some of the misconceptions and apprehension surrounding it.

“Every time we are presented with technology there is a mixture of excitement and apprehension. This panel helps us get a little closer to its source,” Kac said.

The panel is scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. on Thursday at the Harold Washington Library’s Pritzker Auditorium. For more information about the event, visit the event website


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