Edition of 10
21 x 10 Inches, Framed
Mixed media collage printed on archival paper
About the artwork
We have always had our eyes turned skyward.. since the beginning of time nearly every culture on earth has looked to the skies to find their cosmology. Indeed it is this shared canvas that gives us all an equal right to space exploration. Long before nations or corporations began exploring space as a new frontier, Indigenous people across the planet have been observers of the cosmos to understand their identity and purpose thus resulting in the evolution of their cultures.
The Maasai of Kenya, are one such community, and one of the beliefs they hold dear in their star mythology is that cows came to earth from the moon! Such incredible narratives offer us a foothold in imagining a future of space exploration that is not human centric alone, if we can think of other creatures that live on the planet as having the ability to voyage across the cosmos, it expands the present discourse of space exploration to include non human actors too. We exist in a web of interconnectedness, every species on earth woven into the wonder that is the ecological web, and it should be conservation’s mandate that to remind us humans of the ethics of being a companion species and as we strive to be become reverent co-designers within the environment.
As a part of her research at the MIT Media Lab, Prathima Muniyappa is working at the fertile intersection of space exploration and indigenous knowledge. Her research draws from the narratives of indigenous cultures to enrich our understanding of our relationship to the cosmos thereby adding to the discourse of an inclusive space exploration. She believes that to conserve our planet we stand to gain from listening to the wisdom embedded in indigenous communities across the globe.
About the artist
Prathima is a designer, artist and conservator in the space enabled research group at MIT Media Lab, Massachusetts. Her PhD thesis focuses on enabling agency and self representation for indigenous people in the conservation of indigenous knowledge. Her research investigates alternative cosmologies for their potential to contribute to the emerging discourse on techno-imaginaries in the realm of space exploration, synthetic biology and extended intelligence.
Prathima’s work (exhibited here) explores the myths of the cosmos, studying ancient wisdom about cosmology, learning from tribes across the world, whether it's in the Lichnananthay people of the Chilean Atacama or the Maasai of Kenya. She is learning from the incredible Khasi community in Meghalaya whose practice of building living root bridges provokes us to imagine alternative ways to conceive of architecture, as structures that are grown rather than built or assembled. She is moved by the interconnectedness of all living matter and this theme is deeply embedded in her work.
Prior to MIT, she has completed her masters in Design Studies in Critical Conservation at The Graduate School of Design, Harvard, under a Full Bright Scholarship. She also holds a B-Des from National Institute of Design, India, and is a Young India Fellow 2013-14