Michael Najjar works with photography and video to create visions of future scenarios inspired by advances in fields such as information technology and space exploration. In 2015/16 he will become the first contemporary artist to undertake space travel as part of an ongoing work titled outer space.
Najjar’s exhibit orbital cascade_57-46 (2013) is a video projection on the floor illustrating the imagined trajectories of thousands of pieces of manmade space junk floating in the Earth’s orbit. According to existing data, there are about 6,00,000 defunct objects larger than one centimetre currently in the Earth’s orbit. In collaboration with scientists from the Institute of Aerospace Systems, Braunschweig University of Technology, Germany, Najjar created a video simulation in which each spherule represents one such object; starting with the very first object in space — the Sputnik satellite of 1957— to an imagined vision of the future of space junk. From the year 2013, the video switches to a worst case scenario for the future extending to 2046. This projected future includes visions of predicted collisions between existing debris.
Such collisions are expected to unleash a ‘cascade effect’ leading to a complete destruction of the orbital satellite infrastructure we depend on for everything– from telephone communications to weather warnings.