April 12, 2019

Can NASA teach us about art?

Hard to find a more scientific organisation that NASA. So what on earth (or space) can they teach us about art?

We were delighted to be able to attend a workshop with NASA’s Jet Propulsion Labs Visual Strategist David Delgado at the ICSC European Conference in Barcelona this last week. These are the chaps who land rovers on Mars and so on. Turns out David is working hard bring abstract, impenetrable data to life by creating conceptual installations and other art that you and me can interact with. We particularly loved the Orbit Pavilion, currently on display at Huntingdon Botanical Gardens in California. Beautiful multi-sensory art, yes, but also a terrific footfall driver. What’s not to like there?

We all know that in public spaces there are great opportunities to really engage people through sensory interactive art, but it’s also clear we don’t really do enough of it. We fully understand the ‘but it’s not paying rent so how will I get my money back?’ attitude, but that’s myopic. Visionary owners of places understand that creating positive memories is a critical part of your placemaking and, in the age of Instagram and experience driven visitors, fabulous installations of awe and wonder are worth their weight in gold.