“There has to be a bit more on the moon for me…” (An interview with a member of the FAUXISTS IN SPACE)
Posted by Regrette Etcetera on July 1, 2009
Fauxists In Space founding member Regrette discusses the implications of revolution, sex and radical re-design in outer space, and the theory and praxis of the Fauxists in Space. (Interviewed on “Science Hour”, Channel 31 TV Melbourne, 11/8/2008).
Tony Tolson: Today we have a member of the Fauxist Post-Apocalypse Space Program. What?
Chris Sullivan (C): What?
Regrette: What? (laughing). Yeah. The Fauxist Post-Apocalypse Space Program.
Who are what?
Well, we’re a world-wide network of local, sub-community-based groups, all dedicated to building our own space ships. We’re interested in critiquing the military-industrial control of space agenda, providing long-term future forecasting and viability projects and options, and…projecting the social revolutions that will occur with mass space travel or colonization.
Yeah, very seriously.
‘Cos when, er, it had on my bit of paper “Chris Sullivan coming in with a spaceman”, which is the sort of thing that they tend to write on my bits of paper. Oh and I should say “spaceperson”…right?
Um…right. Well, what we want to do is destroy the present day monopoly of space exploration which is maintained by the government and corporate or military interests…um…
And basically open it up so that anybody can-
Yeah, Chris if he wants…i mean…we’re pretty lax on our criteria…(laughs)
C: No, no.
C: No. (laughs)
So come on, Chris, tell me a bit about the literature and stuff you have in front of you…
C: Well, it says at the beginning, here that you often get asked by media hacks if the FPASP is all a big joke. But then in your thing here (points at the 11th Annual Report) you have this thing about “The Fauxist Astrobiology department”, where you sent two, er, intersex chameleons and other ‘biological samples’ into space and it says that practical details such as toilets and physical exercise for the inhabitants of this experimental cabin lead to delays and problems…Then it says you had a plaque attached to one of the Voyager spaceships in 2005!?
Well, the Intersex Chameleons in Space project was some people in France, I represent a Melbourne based group, so I can’t really speak for everyone. And the plaque was part of a collaborative work with other Fauxists- it’s a kind of Time Capsule for deep space…that links in with our “Digital Capsule” and “DNA in Space” projects too…
But you are serious about it?
Oh yeah, we are completely serious about it, and when people ask if we’re a joke or if it’s a metaphor for something else we have to tell them “no”. Generally I think it’s just people’s inability to conceptualize what we’re getting at…aiming for…um…to take on the true size or ramifications of the changes we’re preparing for here, and the true intent of the powers that be…
So if there’s a group you must have meetings?
Well, as I’ve said it’s a network, and we have a 75 year plan which started on June the 23rd 2000 in San Francisco, which was also the 33rd anniversary of the Fauxists’ founding. And that 75 year plan is to establish by the year 2075 a world-wide network of local, community-based groups with space launch and living capabilities. So yes, there are a lot of meetings…a lot of emailing…
But what’s the aim of the organisation? To get you up in rockets?
Well, the immediate aim is to set up that world-wide network. And as a network it allows to travel in several directions at once. In other words we don’t have a fixed agenda for how we are going to escape from gravity. If you look at other organisations like NASA, they have to have a very fixed notion of how to travel into space, fixed intentions, and a tight structure of possibility which We feel is inherently mistaken, exclusive, patriarchal and oppressive etcetera…
They also have to have about 200 billion dollars! (laughs)
C: That’s what I was saying – it’s the debt collectors which will get in the way somewhat, I would have thought?
Is it an expensive business- space travel?
Well it can be, and at the moment it is very expensive. But our response to that is that if you look at the way that technology has developed over the 20th century, these things eventually become cheaper and more accessible. If you look at computers for example; when the first computer came out in the forties or fifties, it cost millions of dollars and was enormous and unwieldy. But now you can buy many types of computers for a fraction of the price that you carry around, and that are far far more powerful as well. This same trajectory holds true for many modern developments and technologies…computers, mobile phones, music devices, medicine, nanotech, vehicles, GE etcetera are all commonplace… and if you imagine what might happen with these devices in another 20 years…?!
So you’ll be able to nip down to K-Mart for a space-suit!
(laughs) So what do you do to further your aims? Do you design ships? What are your specific kind of…
Well the notion of being able to travel in several directions at once means that we’re not only concerned with the technology. On a more banal level, we’re trying to secure military money for amateur experimentation…and for the inclusion of designs and concepts of non/anti-scientists, and children…so in a circuitous way I guess we theorize, critique, and facilitate the design of ships…
What makes us different to other space programs is that we’re far more interested in what’s going to happen when we actually get out there. We’re not just interested in technology itself, or interested in how the technology is used, for aesthetics, fun, food, vacationing, pets. But more importantly, We’re interested in the new possibilities, social and political and identity possibilities that are going to open up when we begin to form autonomous communities in space. We’re interested in the kind of lives that we’re going to be able to construct for ourselves when we get into zero gravity, about the structures of control, about sex and BDSM and drugs, spirituality, gender and race and class…about communities and projects in space…
So is there a kind of political/moral aspect to all this?- Is it anarchists in space?
Yeah. (mumbles). It’s not like anarchists in space, as I’ve said we don’t have any kind of ideology…We want anyone and everyone to get involved. We see it from the perspective of evolution as well. We think that the next stage in human evolution is to go into space: an evolution in physical, political, environmental and psychic terms. I mean, our bodies, family structures, political systems, agriculture, architecture- everything will change really… And, I mean, we have had some groups contact us that are very interested in the possibility…the religious possibilities- of ceremonies, rituals- cult stuff and more ‘straight religion’ kinda stuff in space- releasing prayer documents and ritual items- like statuettes or ashes- into space. Or ‘blessing’ the ships, space burials and stuff like that. We like to think about what certain cultural groups, particularly subcultural groups or minorities would do with space, how they would change space programs for their ends or inclusion. We started out on what we called ‘Queen Space’, which his concerned with draggy or trans uses for space- I mean, who’s decorating the stations, how to do your eyebrows in zero-G or the big question of glitter in a zero G, electronics-heavy environment! So yeah, evolutionary stages, and especially with the environmental apocalypse heating up, We really need to take action on this. The questions of what will be taken into space- whether it’s stored consciousnesses or our actual bodies or whatever is important too. And maybe many animals and plants will need to come with us if they are to survive too, so it’ll be another evolutionary stage for them too, very “2001” with the apes and the monoliths really…
Well Chris has barely escaped from the last evolutionary stage…
C: Yeah. (Mumbles). I know you told me that these are very serious subjects, but having been sent this thing (the 11th Annual Report), I must quote, it says that at one time as a “political-experimental gesture” you wanted to launch some high-altitude balloons carrying an ant farm into the mesosphere at the Steve Irwin statue outside of the CSIRO and you couldn’t at 3pm because of engine trouble of your cars! I don’t think Buzz Aldrin would have been caught in traffic!
Well he obviously didn’t have to deal with the M5, did he?
(Laughter) It’s true, though, – she has a point, Chris. Buzz did have a very different set of problems.
C: And another part of it – a lot of it is on about “marital relationships” in space…well to be more direct, sex in space. And I quote, one of the things that it says NASA have tried to do here: “elastic belts around the thighs of the two partners” (indistinct) “buttocks and groin” (indistinct)…
Ooh! This sounds like it’s getting saucy!
I have to explain that. The document that you’re referring to there is a document that we found, allegedly from NASA, talking about how they try and enable people to have sex in space. Now, this is an important aspect to our programme. As far as we know, no-one’s actually done it in space, and the document you’ve just read out from is supposedly a NASA document. They talk about “continuing normal marital relations” in space. How boring! And this is just such a good example of how they are repeating the same old heteronormative structures…We have a whole publication dedicated to this, dedicated entirely to investigating and theorizing sex in space… (ed.: “Sex in space”), because this is a huge field, one of the most obvious areas in which the control and deliberate ignorance of behaviour, planning and design, ideology etc deploys itself. NASA restrains itself mainly to the ‘logistics’ of sex in space, the ways of avoiding it or keeping it ‘clean’. We’re almost the opposite…we try to centre it and ask questions about the possibilities of what our queerdo tranny freak friends will get up to ‘up there’. The “Sex in Space” magazine goes into this quite deeply…
C: What- so NASA is more interested in ‘the minimum possible to not argue with your missus’, I suppose? (laughs)
(withering expression) Well we’re saying that we’re not interested in going into space if all you’re going to do when you get there is replicate the same kind of conditions that currently prevail on this planet, or this show… (withering expression) You know – what’s the point to making patriarchal, racist stations or colonies? Our sex in space hypothesis is that in zero gravity it’s going to be even better, that with the time, apparatii, and personal/social changes that come about, that sexualities will develop like none we’ve ever known…Which is why it’s important that we get up there and we conduct certain experiments to test out that hypothesis…to facilitate all kinds of people being involved in the planning and theorizing.
I mean, taking you seriously for a while – and I’m prepared to do that, how far away do you think it is before there are alternative, non-governmental forays into space?
Well, it’s already happening.
(Utter disbelief). No! It’s not!
It is! In America there are several private enterprise projects which aim to get into space, some of them talk about in the next 5 years. Recently there’s something called the “X Prize Foundation” which has been started up, which is basically $10 million for the first privately-funded spacecraft which gets into sub-orbital flight. So that’s not even full orbital flight, but about 100 km. I mean, Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic has already begun running tourist space flights for something like $200,000 each…and there are 2 other companies developing launch facilities in the western US to do the same thing….To quote from one of our publications that I have, um…this is from a presentation from 2004 by Rutan- he predicts that within 5 years 3,000 tourists will have been to space. Within 15 years sub-orbital tourism will be affordable, and 50,000 people will have flown. Within 15 years the first, expensive orbital tourist flights will have happened. Within 25 years orbital tourism will be affordable!
Wow! Would you go, Chris?
C: I don’t even like travelling on the tram!
(laughs) Well, the point I’m trying to make is that people are thinking about these things, but rather than it being controlled by government or corporate or military interests…
Particularly the American government.
-and also simply rather than it becoming an extension of the tourist-colonialist industry or-
Because that’s the other way it’s likely to go, isn’t it? Hotels in space…
Yeah. There’s a Japanese company that’s already got plans for building hotels on the moon. And they did a recent survey in Japan and they reckoned there’d be about 800,000 people that would be willing to pay a lot of money- tourism in space hotels is on a longer trajectory, predicted to become a reality in 2025, and these companies like Virgin will all be there too, and if those predictions come true, tourism could be the facilitator for galactic colonization and expansion…and like I said about just replicating the conditions here on earth…
Ok then, what do you think mass tourism or settlement in space will change about earth?
Ah, see that’s a good question! This is what we’re trying to encourage! And well…at the moment it’s a class thing, I mean it’s enormously expensive and will remain so for a couple more decades…but when it reaches a more ‘popular’ level it could bring big changes. And when you add in the environmental apocalypse that is really starting to kick in, I mean that as a motivation to ‘escape’ earth of live ‘off-world’, then you can see how such an option could really stratify earth societies…like in a lot of Sci-Fi really…I mean in more traditionally humanist terms you could talk about the loss of culture, space, nature etc…
C: Aha, so speaking of humanists, what do you think we should do with the possibilities of alien contact? Is there planning going on for that?
Well we have been developing many theories and have many researchers speculating upon possible scenarios…As you probably know, NASA spends huge amounts of time and money on this, most notoriously on the SETI program (ed.: search for extra-terrestrial intelligence) which is trying to receive signals from alien civilizations…The central problem is that We may not even recognize them when we meet them, we may be already living amongst them etcetera, there’s a lot of stuff about “simultaneous inter-universe communication” and the like bouncing around in the speculative physics and fringe sciences circles…. The sex in space document goes into this question in more depth, as we believe that sex will be one of the most interesting methods of communication and transmission etc…though this is a hard question, almost something we can only prepare ourselves to ask…And importantly, this will have huge impacts on earth society- talk about decentralizing the earth! All our theories of religion, evolution, politics, philosophy, fashion could be completely blown away…
That’s true…So, how many people are taking part in the struggle from your side? How many members of the Fauxists In Space department?
At the moment (laughs) it’s difficult to give you a precise number. I can say that there’s about 13 different groups across the world, that’s mainly this country, France, Italy… Scotland as well. And, as I say, by the year 2012 we hope to extend that network across the world- and beyond. It’s hard to give exact number because we often count any contributors as part of the Fauxists, many children, many who don’t even know they’re participating etc. And we are specifically aiming to include the peoples, nations and identities that have no representation in the ‘space race’ or industry at all…
So no-one’s sitting at home building suits out of tin foil or anything?
(laughs) No – we’re far more serious than that…I can’t divulge too much, but some of the branches have actually launched objects from earth…
C: mmm ok. So you’re called the Fauxists right, and it sounds like a lot of what you are interested in is on the conspiratorial end of the spectrum…so my question is…what do you think about the whole hypothesis that the whole space program, the moon landing, was faked?
My Grandma believed that.
C: Because we had this guy in who’s a photographic journalist and he’s absolutely convinced that it was a complete and utter fake.
Well, the only way is for us to build our own spaceships and go up there and check it out! I mean often the most paranoid conclusions these days are the most correct/visionary…I wouldn’t put anything past the US government, some of the most challenging…
Well I’m not going!
C: No, there has to be a bit more on the moon for me.
C: Food, rather than dust. And beaches!
Night-clubs, clothes shops…
Well, we’ve got a “Stonewall in Space” programme…
Oh yeah, definitely. We’ve already got people who are researching the kind of music that would be the most appropriate for that kind of environment…I mean…will work for dancing in Zero-G…Then there’s the other elements to partying- the effects of drugs in zero-G etc environments, and then there’s the hairstyles, the types of clothes that would be rendered completely useless- if not dangerous- in zero gravity!…
Haha you really are thinking of everything!… And I wish we could follow you into it more deeply, but, well, that’s about all the time we have for today, thanks for coming in, and…um…good luck I guess?!…
Well OK, thankyou, and I want to remind any viewers out there to get in contact if they have questions or suggestions…
…i thought we’d end on a song to capture something of the spirit of space and freedom, some pop culture, well I should really have chosen something like Bowie’s “Star man” or something, shouldn’t I? But I thought it would be a cheap shot, especially with your makeup! So you’ve got UB40 instead…and so there you have it folks, a real future space-farer! How controversial!
C: Thanks for being here.
Thankyou for having me.
Thankyou to Martin Degville for the transcription of this interview, and to the avid viewers who contacted us with mesages of support and interest after the show. We shall overcum!
For more information on the colonisation of space, space tourism and free settlements, further Fauxist Interviews, or to sign up to the Fauxist Monthly Handful email bulletin, do not hesitate to write to: firstname.lastname@example.org
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