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The power of art

 ABC 7.30 Report    |     20 August 2014

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 Canadian astronaught Chris Hadfield, who famously performed Space Oddity in space, reflects on the humanity of art and its power to convey meaning.

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CHRIS UHLMANN: Having seen the Earth from space and seen the universe beyond it, can it all be defined by science or only by poetry or perhaps even faith?

CHRIS HADFIELD: What we’re doing in exploring the solar system is teaching us a lot and it’s technically really interesting and it’s important, both politically and economically and technologically. But to me, the fact that so many people watched that music version of Space Oddity that I did, to me, that really shows the importance, if you want to actually communicate, the importance of art. I mean, science, technology, engineering, math – they drive the economy, but we’re people, we’re not machines and washing machines and robots. We’re humans. And to share the wonder and experience of what’s going on, that is expressed through art, through music and through writing and through poetry and to try and get to the very essence of what’s important. And we’re at that stage of space exploration now where the space station allows us to start to do that.

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From the archive of The Scan – Life & stuff , 16 May 2013.

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Hadfield’s Space oddity

A would- be shock jock on national radio recently ran a “festival of the worst of David Bowie”.   Some of it was very bad, indeed – a song about a gnome was positively cringe-inducing.  It included Space Oddity, which wasn’t really all that bad: it just wasn’t really good.  Canadian astronaught Chris Hadfield, who came back to Earth after a five-month mission on the International Space Station, has given Space Oddity a whole new lease of life with a well produced cover version, videoed in space,  and now distributed to the entire planet,via the Internet.  Hadfield’s cover was hardly a spur-of-the-moment thing.  Planning and executing the video took six months, included help from Canadian musicians, including the pianist Emm Gryner (who contacted Bowie to obtain permission). The video was also not Hadfield’s first foray into space-related art.  During his mission, he posted hundreds of original photographs, some of other astronauts, others of the Earth as seen from space. Many are spectacular. He also recorded a holiday song, “Jewel in the Night,” which is being called the first original song created in space. Is Hadfield’s “Space Oddity” the first video made in space? News reports suggest that this is the case.

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