Research Project Number 33 was approved for flight by NASA, through the
1998 NASA Reduced Gravity Student Flight Program, a project of the
Texas Space Grant Consortia. This project was founded in 1988 by
Frank Pietronigro, a San Francisco Bay Area interdisciplinary artist.
Research Project Number 33 was integrated into a San Francisco Art
Institute 1998 Directed Studies science class, lead by Peter Richards
and Tom Humphrey, Faculty Advisors to the artists flight team. Other
flight team members included: Elizabeth Allbee Abascal, Clovis Blackwell
and Kris Shapiro.
Creative investigations which integrated traditional scientific research
methodologies were flown by the artists aboard NASA's KC135 jet on
April 3 and 4, 1998, from NASA Johnson Space Center's Ellington Field.
A microgravity environment was achieved as the jet flew 42
roller-coaster like parabolic maneuvers, 25,000 feet above the Gulf of
Mexico, which resulted in a series of 20-25 second intervals of
weightlessness in which the artists worked.
Some of the scientific issues explored by the artists flight team included
collisions, fluid dynamics and angular momentum exchange. Artistic
elements included video, choreography, drawing, dance, filmmaking and the
extension of the concept of "action painting" by eliminating the canvas
and projecting paint directly into a space surrounding the artist's body.
It is our project hypothesis that creativity when bridged with analytic
activities of the scientists will enrich the quality of life for space
travelers engaged in integrated hemispheric processes.