Guwahati: A space scientist and artist, Priyanka Das Rajkakati who hails from Assam, is all set to send her artwork to the Moon. She is based in France.
Her artwork ‘Bhedadipika’, a part of future lunar mission, comprises of two objects constrained inside a 1cm³ box: a strip of paper with hand-drawn phases of the Moon in glow-in-the-dark ink, and a nanosim card that contains artistic simulations that are created by an algorithm.
Showcasing her Indian roots, she named her project as Bhedadipika which in Sanskrit means “An illustration of duality”, and she chose this as the network in question deals with the concept of duality – in Nature and also in her own personality as an artist-scientist.
The animated images are part of a series of algorithmic art titled “Star Cities/Organised Worlds”, inspired by equations of spirographs, which are fundamental curves depicting movement in Nature: from celestial orbits to rolling objects, and are harmonious to look at.
Speaking to TIME8, Rajkakati said, “It is to showcase to the world that art and culture are core elements of humanity. Future human settlements in space, if we ever reach such a stage, will therefore also require us to integrate art and culture to have stable and functional space societies.”
The 28 years old is one of the six analog-astronauts for the third mission, EMMIHS-III. “I am an ambassador of the L’Oreal-UNESCO Girls in Science initiative, as well as part of the Space Generation Advisory Council (SGAC) which whom we are currently organizing an event commemorating Women in Aerospace,” she said.
SGAC is an organization serving as a link between young professionals in Space with the United Nations.
“When I discovered that one of the angles of an obsession of mine is Space, which is in fact a highly interdisciplinary field, I finally found a valid context for experimenting with Art and Science,” Priyanka Das revealed.
When asked upon the Moon Gallery, she said, “The Moon Gallery is an international collaborative artwork and a gallery of ideas worth sending to the Moon, a project under ArtMoonMars of the International Lunar Exploration Working Group (ILEWG).”
ArtMoonMars is an initiative to highlight the importance of artists with respect to space exploration: as message bearers who convey multiple messages of the community including planetary science, life sciences, astronomy, fundamental research, resources utilisation, human spaceflight, peaceful cooperation, economic development, inspiration, training & capacity building.
“Moon Gallery intends to launch 100 artifacts to the Moon within the compact format of a 10 x 10 x 1 cm plate on a lunar lander exterior paneling as early as 2022. As it costs 1 million euros/kg to send something to the Moon, these (smart) artists proposed to hence miniaturise the gallery. The idea is to develop culture for a future interplanetary society in this Petri dish-like gallery,” she further added.
Speaking about her ongoing projects, Rajkakti revealed, “I would be an artist in residence at this year’s European Geosciences Union (vEGU21), during which I would be transforming scientific research into artwork. The algorithmic art from my work Bhedadipika has also been selected for the first ever V-Art digital #ArtSpaceShip online exhibition.”
“Apart from an artist, I’m also an engineer and researcher in Aerospace. In 2019, I was selected for the 5th cohort of the Homeward Bound Project for women in STEMM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics and Medicine),” she added.