Elizabeth George, Christopher Cokinos, Ivy Wayhome, and Julie Johnson of the Imagination 1 crew at SAM, Biosphere 2

Elizabeth George, Crew Commander Christopher Cokinos, Ivy Wayhome, and Julie Johnson.

Imagination 1 at SAM
Coming from diverse artistic, professional, and cultural backgrounds, the all-University of Arizona mission crew is comprised of non-fiction writer Christopher Cokinos; and professor emeritus of English; dancer/choreographer Elizabeth George, associate professor at the School of Dance; poet Julie Swarstad Johnson, Poetry Center archivist and librarian; and textile artist Ivy Wahome, MFA candidate in costume design and production at the School of Theatre, Film & Television.

Imagination I was sealed inside of SAM March 10-15,2024, generating creative work shaped by the limitations and possibilities of life and culture beyond Earth. Crew members engaged in individual and collaborative projects ranging from choreography for a solo dancer in a pressure suit to poetic exploration of the outdoor surface as an imaginary lunar landscape. As they lived and created at SAM, the crew of Imagination 1 worked to help establish the foundational value of the arts in space exploration as humans consider how to cultivate ethical, sustainable and flourishing communities beyond Earth.

“We believe that art is, at its root, a form of articulate compassion—not propaganda or boosterism,” says Cokinos. “It can help us to discover, here and on the moon, here and on Mars, the skill and joy of solving problems without creating new ones,” states Ellen McMahon, associate dean for research for the College of Fine Arts, “It’s not unusual for artists to visualize data and translate scientific findings for a broad audience or to be embedded in science research labs for various reasons. But Imagination 1 breaks this pattern. The mission was created by artist Chris Cokinos, and artists selected the final crew. Their research questions, methods and processes are rooted in particular creative practices and diverse personal experiences. This is something new.”

Learn about the Imagination I mission at SAM, (March 10-15, 2024) and learn more about this unique crew …