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What is airspace?
Which natural phenomena occur in it?
What do they mean to us?
How have we used airspace?
What are our plans for the future?

In Artefact 2016: Up in the Air, we aim to investigate the poetic, political and economic parameters that guide our relation to airspace. The spiritual dimensions that seem to be closely related to an ‘up-there’, the hopes and dreams for which we turn our gaze up, the attempts to understand the intangible and sometimes invisible stand in stark contrast to the more practical political and economic approaches that organize and regulate our use of air space in areas such as transportation, scanning and surveillance, and air quality control.

Commercial development of unmanned aerial vehicles (drones) and the lack of a functioning legal framework in relation to it has turned the topic of how to run airspace into a burning topic. President Barack Obama himself exemplified the not-in-my-backyard attitude beautifully when an UAV landed, well, in his backyard. With the European guidelines for civil use of drones on their way, the topic will only become more pressing. But, the use of airspace, regardless of purpose or technology used, has a long history, as do the critical questions and thoughts that go along with it.

Up in the Air wishes to place these contemporary societal questions in a broader investigative context that brings forth our relation to airspace regardless of the technologies at hand.

Artefact is an exhibition and arts festival on contemporary visual culture, current events and societal challenges.
Artefact is an initiative of the Province Vlaams-Brabant i.c.w. Stad Leuven.
Artefact is supported by KU Leuven in the context of the policy guideline ‘art and science’.

Curator: Karen Verschooren