Later this month, an artwork by the British, Berlin-based artist Katie Paterson will become the first ever to board the International Space Station.
The piece, Campo del Cielo, Field of the Sky, resembles a meteorite, but is in fact a molded sculpture, melted and reformed into the shape of a meteorite.
The work will go up soon on the unmanned space vehicle ATV Georges Lemaître.
“It won’t be displayed for safety reasons,” said William Pym, European director for the James Cohan Gallery, which represents Paterson. “It’s going to take about two weeks to get up there, and then we hope there are going to be pictures of astronauts holding it, or that’s one idea.”
Pym said Paterson organized the piece’s voyage herself, through her connections in the aerospace community, which she’s collaborated with on other projects, like her project in which she bounced Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata off the moon. There are no plans right now, he said, to bring the work back to Earth.
Paterson joins a number of artists who have launched their work into space recently, among them Trevor Paglen and Makoto Azuma, whose work admittedly only made it to the stratosphere.