In the Gallery October 2021
In Museum Orbit
“When does the past begin?
We think of the future when we think of space travel, yet a vast array of artifacts are left over from past explorations. Many items are preserved “in museum orbit”—left to drift in space, but catalogued, protected and studied as part of our cultural heritage. Some components of spacecraft and satellites are made of ceramic, a material well suited to extremes of temperature and pressure. My soda fired ceramic vessels bear similar patterns and colors created by the passage of flame over the surface. Much as an amphora pulled up from an ancient shipwreck can serve as a window to the lives of those explorers, I pictured these vessels twelve thousand years in the future, as relics—canvas disintegrated, metals rusted, plastic degraded, leaving only the ceramic and glass components to study. They are a record of the remote, dangerous and lonely places where people go, and the lasting human traces they leave behind.
Astronauts talk about the life-changing experience of seeing our own planet from space. It’s a feeling both awe-inspiring and vulnerable to see our home planet, our whole world, so small and distant. After eleven months aboard the ISS, Christina Koch describes her most exhilarating moment as seeing, through the golden glow out the window of her return capsule, the Himalayas as they rose back into full relief.
For my “Planet” series, I have been thinking about the gift of perspective. Sometimes the best way to understand something is to be immersed, experiencing first-hand through all your senses. At other times, having some space and time between you and the world you have inhabited can help you to fully see its beauty for the first time.”
Jenneva Kayser is a sculptor and ceramic artist from Michigan. She earned a BFA from Kalamazoo College. Her work as an artist and teacher has taken her to all over the world, from Quito, Ecuador to Mesa, Arizona. She currently resides in Oakland, CA.