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Products for grant TD-266403-19

Tektite Revisited: NASA's Forgotten Underwater Mission
Meghan O'Hara, University Corporation at Monterey Bay

Grant details:

Wild Blue Medium: Modernity, Media, and the Writing of the Ocean (Course or Curricular Material)
Title: Wild Blue Medium: Modernity, Media, and the Writing of the Ocean
Author: James Merle Thomas
Abstract: The ocean has inspired countless literary and visual accounts since antiquity, serving as a site for trade, recreation, strategic resources, and military conquest. However, in what some scholars have termed a “second discovery of the sea,” the nineteenth and twentieth centuries witnessed a vast expansion of scientific and humanistic knowledge of the sea and—in sometimes overlapping spheres—a host of corresponding "new media." Drawing on a growing academic “Blue Humanities” subfield that critically examines the ocean and this history, this seminar will consider how the ocean—and more broadly, the aquatic—has been visualized, narrated, theorized, occupied, colonized, and mediated throughout modernity. This seminar is taught in an Art History department, and in turn, framed within the broader context of the Tyler School of Art and Architecture. Therefore, the class will focus on the aesthetic dimensions of the ocean and its various "media ecologies" (McLuhan, Postman) as encountered through photography, film, visual art, sound, architecture, performance, print, etc. Accordingly, our interdisciplinary approach will privilege a wide-ranging investigation of the aquatic and its associated contexts. In addition to the usual suspects in art history and art practice, our readings will draw from media studies (in particular, a strain of German media theory advanced by Friedrich Kittler, Bernhard Siegert, and others); histories of science and technology; anthropology; (eco)critical theory; indigenous knowledge; postcolonial studies, science fiction; and recent theories of the Anthropocene. Particular interest will be paid to how—like other abstract and uninhabitable spaces (outer space, the desert, the arctic poles)—the ocean has served as a site for experimental mediation and radical aesthetic possibility throughout late modernity, even as cataclysmic climate change threatens to transform the oceans and their supported systems.
Year: 2021
Audience: Graduate

Habitability Project: Public Conversation (Public Lecture or Presentation)
Title: Habitability Project: Public Conversation
Abstract: WAM will convene the Second National Symposium on Habitability of Environments in 2020. In preparation for the symposium, a cohort of collaborators from the arts, commercial space exploration, architecture, space medicine, anthropology and art history will gather in Minneapolis this October to consider the question: What fields of knowledge and ways of knowing are necessary to address the notion of a habitability beyond ‘life support’? Please join us for a public conversation following the workshop, that will include an overview of the Habitability Project by WAM curator Boris Oicherman, followed by a screening of samples of Tektite Revisited: Meghan O’Hara and James Merle Thomas’ in-progress documentary about NASA’s underwater habitability research in the U.S. Virgin Islands between 1969-70, and a presentation about the commercial space platform Axiom Space by Christian Maender. The event will culminate with a roundtable discussion involving workshop participants.
Author: James Merle Thomas
Author: Meghan O'Hara
Author: Boris Oicherman
Date: 10/04/2019
Location: Weisman Museum, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN
Primary URL:
Primary URL Description: Announcement, Main Page, for Public event at FRW museum, University of Minnesota
Secondary URL:
Secondary URL Description: Interview with Robert Irwin

Tektite2020: Women of Sea and Space (Public Lecture or Presentation)
Title: Tektite2020: Women of Sea and Space
Abstract: Tektite2020: Women of Sea and Space celebrates the vision, the passion, bravery and the comradeship of the first all-female Aquanaut crew-Tektite II Mission 6. Tektite2020 is a once-in-a-lifetime global line-up of ocean explorers, mission leaders, brave members of Tektite I, Tektite II Mission 6 and a cohort of incredible artists, scientists, technologists and lovers of both sea and space. Keynote speakers include the Hon. Prof. Jane Lubchenco, Prof. Pascale Ehrenfreund, Dr. Sylvia Earle, NASA astronauts and surprise guests exploring new worlds. Dr. Sarah Jane Paul and Dr. Tierney Thys with cohosts Meghan O’Hara, Dr. James Merle Thomas and Joe Grabowski invite you to dive in and join our presentations from leading sea and space professionals. Recent discoveries, explorations and achievements, building community and tackling the pressing issues of today. Attendees will share in the celebrations, gain new perspectives and hear first-hand how these pioneering game-changers are transforming our relationship with the ocean and space and steering our species toward a better future.
Author: Meghan O'Hara
Author: James Merle Thomas
Author: Sarah Jane Pell
Author: Tierney Thys
Author: Joe Grabowski
Date: 07/17/2020
Location: Online
Primary URL:
Primary URL Description: Event website with descriptions of the, speakers, presentations and performances that were available for free on July 17-18, 2020.