Vertical Inversion Drawings

These two drawings were created during my first parabolic flight in 1998. These works of art are the result of an arts space science collaboration whose objective was to observe the impact of zero gravity on the process of drawing in zero gravity.

This idea was suggested to me by Millard Reschke, Chief Neuroscience at NASA Johnson Space Center who said I should find a simple image whose shape had strong vertical orientation. I was to draw this image from memory while stationary in gravity and on the ground while blind-folded (right image). I drew the same exact image from memory the second time while blind-folded and floating in the weightless space of zero gravity (left image).

The drawing on the left was created in zero gravity as I floated from the left to the right and the drawing on the right was created in gravity while my body was stationary on the ground. This is the first time such drawings have ever been created by a fine artist.

By chance I found a sheet of paper, while I was walking on the streets of San Francisco. Shown are ‘hobo signs’, a set of icons used by migrant workers as they would pass from one space into another. I thought one of these signs was appropriate to use in our arts space science and engineering experiment. I saw these signs as being symbolic of the contrast between the labor of the artist and the labor of scientists.

I choose to use the image of the train as a distant reference to the theory of relativity while also acknowledging the fact that space exploration is a form of transportation. Here I am shown in my NASA issued flight uniform blindfolded prior to drawing in zero gravity.